After a few weeks of trawling through the forums and countless google searches I am still left a tad confused.
Firstly many people have told me to get a flight simulator before I try flying a quadcopter to ensure I have a minimal amount of crashes. This seems logical however I still do not know which simulator I should use. One very helpful member suggested these.
I welcome any alternative suggestions.
Secondly I have been told the Arducopter is not the best choice for my first Quad and the ArduCopter wiki even echo's this with these two statements:
"ArduCopter is not a RC toy and should not be your first RC aircraft."
"ArduCopter is a good choice. If, however, you don't want to upgrade often and or learn new features, a closed-source multicopter may be a better choice for you."
So I am left to ponder, what QuadCopter will suit my needs and allow me to begin flying with proficiency in the shortest amount of time coupled with learning before hand on a simulator.
I would love to have FPV video too, even if I learn to fly with the quad before I add/use the FPV I would like the option available in the future. GPS waypoints and navigation is not necessary. Also line of sight would be maintained at all times (hopefully).
I would prefer a RTF out of the box experience (with FPV under $1200). If building a quad would be a better option I would consider it, I work in the telecommunication field and therefore have a good knowledge electrical principals and can solder. I should be able to assemble the parts. If you think building a Quad is a better idea I would appreciate suggestions of parts (with links).
So to conclude:
I am looking for the best value for money and beginner friendly RTF Quad with live FPV, within my budget of $1200. GPS waypoints/navigation are not required as use would be line of sight, GPS hold would be a welcome addition but not a necessity. It must have a failsafe of some description if possible, as I don't want to see my quad disappear over the horizon :)
I am sure this has been asked before but I can assure you I have searched the forum I also previously started another thread which you can view here: http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/i-am-sorry
I welcome any advice, information or links. Also if my goal is not realistic don't be shy let me know!
Thanks for the recommendations. The E-flite MQX has very good reviews everywhere I have looked.
Have you personally owned one?
I agree 100% I learned to fly these things before tackling a heavy lift CInestar 8 Multirotor. You can bind them to any DSM2/DSMX controller. You can crash them and crash them and crash them before they break. I have broke it! Even if you break it there are replacement pats that you can get cheap. This copter is actually harder to fly in some respects to the bigger rigs. These little copters are good for training muscle memory and how the characteristics of multi-rotors handle.
If you can get flying this down then transitioning to the bigger stuff will be fairly easier. I would also get a computer simulator such as RCsim as well to learn how to handle the bigger machines as well as practice FPV flying. Also these sims have the automated modes that you can practice this is something you will want to have a good grasp. On APM 2.5 autopilots cumming out of Altitude hold if your throttle is not in the relative hover position the copter will either climb or descend like a bat out of hell.
One of the things you have to be aware is that multi rotors can climb faster than they can safely descend. If you descend too fast vertically without any lateral motion the copter's blades will stall out in its own rotor down-wash and require flying out of it and may not be recoverable. I almost crashed my Cinestar this way. I had a heavier camera and started to descend I thought I was moving forward enough but apparently wasn't and the copter started coming down fast. I went to full throttle and the copter just barely arrested the descent prior to hitting the ground. Luckily I barely touched the ground and the copter rapidly achieved a climb out and I was able to regain control. It could have been worse had I reacted a second later the impact would have damaged the land gear and possibly the gimbal and payload.
You can experience this on the MQX because you will start hearing the propellers chopping the rougher turbulent air. Multi-rotors aren't too hard to fly but they can be tricky and unforgiving at times. When using automated modes you can loose orientation of the system real fast as well without FPV or some other Guidance. You will learn real fast that Return Home logic will be your friend :)
No I did not have an MQX. However just about everyone else I fly with have one. I learned flying with the coax heli MQX; that is also very good. The only ridiculous thing about it was that it came with a charger running off normal AAA batteries... I think they come with an AC adapter now,
The blade MQX kit comes with AC Adapter a small charger, the copter of course, a simple Spektrum DSMX controller, 4 spare propellers, and a 1 cell LIPO battery using JST connectors.
I learned to fly quads with a Parrot ar.drone with the McGyer R/C mod.