The difficulty for most of us is that we don’t get as much stick time as we’d like, whether due to family or work commitments, geographical limitations, bad weather, or a lack of quads and batteries to destroy.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that a typical quad flight lasts four minutes (if my quads last two-three minutes, I’ll be happy!). If I play the sim for an hour, that would be the equivalent of flying 30 lipos, which would take up about two hour of my weekly flying sessions.
Even if you believe that simulator training is only half as effective as real training, an additional hour per week will have a significant impact on your ability to fly. Therefore I advise everyone to use a simulator to practice as much as possible.
With the increasing popularity of drones, the demand for FPV simulators has also grown, leading to the development of various options available on the market. In this essay, we will discuss the basics of FPV simulators, their features, benefits, and limitations. We also will review each FPV drone simulator in this article to determine which one is ideal for you.
FPV Simulator is a tool used by drone pilots to practice flying their drones in a virtual environment. It allows users to experience flying a drone as if they were in the cockpit, giving them a chance to improve their flying skills and avoid potential risks.
You can also say they are games, using the keyboard you can control the drone back and forth, left and right, throttle and other controls. Of course, using a radio to operate the fpv simulator is the best way to become proficient with the remote control and the drone.
Photo By @National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Let’s face it: It’s the best way for beginners to get started and improve their flying skills. Simulators can be very effective for both beginners and advanced pilots, whether you are completely new to the fpv fly or an experienced pilot looking to learn a challenging acrobatic poilt.
It is only in a simulator that you can practice tricks that are almost impossible to perform in real life.
Benefits of Using an FPV Simulator
1. Improved Flying Skills
FPV simulators provide users with a realistic and entertaining experience that allows them to practice their flying skills and perfect their methods. Users can experiment with different flight modes, control settings and weather conditions to learn how their drones behave in different situations.
Flying a real drone can be expensive, especially for beginners. A drone crash can cause serious damage that can be expensive to repair. As an economical and safe option, an FPV simulator allows users to hone their flying skills without spending more money.
3. Enhanced Safety
By providing a safe and controlled environment for practice, FPV simulators reduce the possibility of harming yourself or your drone. poilts can try different settings and conditions without the risk of getting hurt or damaging their equipment, unlike real-ife flying.
FPV simulators are accessible to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. This allows poilts to practice and improve their flying skills from the comfort of their own home.
What You Need For Drone Flight Simulators
You should first purchase a radio controller before choosing an FPV simulator.
Using a game console or keyboard is not recommended. The best technique to develop muscle memory and get the most out of training is to use a proper radio. It’s a worthwhile long-term investment because you can use the same radio to fly the real drones in the future.
All the radios I suggest are plug and play, all you have to do is plug in the USB cable and your computer will recognize it as a gaming joystick. It is that easy to use the radio in the simulator.
Does the Physics of Quadcopter Simulators Matter?
True and false.
The physics of a drone simulator are rather arbitrary. Even if they get closer to reality, it probably won’t feel the same.
The purpose of a simulator is to teach you how to fly and develop your muscle memory. Just choose a simulator that looks realistic enough for you (and that runs smoothly on your computer).
Instead of worrying about the physics, spend time practicing.
Types of FPV Drone Simulators
Now we will take a look at each FPV simulator individually and discuss their features, pros, and cons.
In terms of functionality and content, Liftoff is one of the most advanced FPV simulators available. Nothing compares to the amount of content available, which includes thousands of tracks and hundreds of models chosen by the community. Liftoff was the first game to use a “parts system” that allows you to change individual parts of your drone to make it more unique, just like in real life.
It’s one of the few simulations that takes propeller damage into account (can also be turned off). It makes flying more cautious and obstacle aware, resulting in a more realistic flying experience.
The most graphically demanding simulator on the list, Liftoff, also requires a powerful gaming PC to perform well. The liftoff simulator is also highly customizable, allowing users to change settings and adjust the difficulty level to suit their needs.
In Liftoff’s Freestyle Mode, your tricks and techniques are judged as if you were competing. This is a serious consideration for people who just like aerial ballet.
The only simulation that supports 3D mode is Liftoff (reversing engines in flight).
It is available for download on steam and it helps you to manage the game and make updates easier.
LiftOff FPV Simulator is a high quality simulator that offers a realistic flying experience and a wide range of features. The simulator is easy to use, highly customizable, and has excellent performance, So, many pilots say LiftOff is great for beginners.
The physics of the game are one of the best out there and are very customizable. With physics tweaks and rate adjustments, it was easy for me to tune the Velocidrone to feel very much like my own drone. This simulation, I have to admit, is probably one of the best at recreating the sensation of a racing drone in the real world.
It is the simulator of choice for racing pilots. In fact, many MultiGP racers use Velocidrone just to practice and learn the track.
The manufacturers claim that Velocidrone uses Betaflight firmware codes, and that you can change your PIDs and rates just like with Betaflight. You can adjust the FOV and angle of the camera to your liking, and I think it says a lot that it uses the full range of your TX without the need for offsets.
Although this game’s graphics aren’t as outstanding as those of other simulators, it’s more performance-oriented. You can still practice flying, and the game works well on older computers due to its lower graphics requirements. The multiplayer feature allows you to switch between races and freestyle, have audio discussions, and change courses all within the same session. It also has a fantastic track editor.
Even though the upgrade requires a little more work because the game isn’t on Steam, it’s still a nice thing to be able to choose whether or not you want to do it.
- Very realistic physics
- There are several different drone sizes, ranging from 5″ to tiny whoops.
- Many flying modes, including a combat game where you can play first-person shooter and use a laser to destroy other drones.
- Practice racing tracks are the best, and you can even go to multigp’s fpv simulator race.
- Each of the aforementioned drone classes and game types must be purchased separately.
I might suggest Velocidrone if you want a simulator and don’t want to be dissatisfied. The simulator has a vibrant community on Facebook and Discord and runs on low-end PCs. The weekly official multiplayer races work quite well.
You can practice in the rain, although the track editor and speed parameters could use some improvement. This simulator, which costs around $20, is essential for anyone looking to get into the sport or take it to the next level as a pilot.
So Which is better liftoff or VelociDrone?
Depends on your preference bias. If you want a close to real life picture, the physics in Liftoff simulator is better than Velocidrone simulator.
Liftoff is also the only simulator I know that supports 3D modes (like reversing engines on the fly)，It is beginner friendly.
If you are focused on racing and want to compete with top pilots (MCK, Headsup etc.), then Velocidrone simulator is highly recommended as your practice tool.
The DRL (Drone Racing League) simulator is intriguing since it is used to hold online tryout events and offers paid contracts to the best pilots to race in offline events using actual quadcopters. DRL is the FPV sim that I find to be the most engaging as a player.
To carry additional camera equipment for the performance and to be visible, DRL uses its own special drones (weigh about 1000g). The conclusion is that the physics of the simulations accurately reflect the fact that these objects weigh about 1000g, which is twice as much as a conventional racing drone.
Some pilots find this weight makes flying painful, so the DRL simulator already gives players the option of using a regular quad, or even customizing it.
The graphics may not be the best on the list, but the settings and scenery are incredible. For example, in one area you can find a shipyard, tall skyscrapers, and abandoned industries all on one map!
The chance to become a real DRL pilot is the shining feature and main attraction of DRL. The fact that DRL also has a solid online multiplayer mode with customizable tracks is overshadowed by this. However, the crash detection feature, which painfully shows your drone shattering into pieces at the slightest collision, is a pain. Resetting is tedious, repetitive, and sluggish.
When it was released in 2021, I bought it on steam. After a few days of trial play, It is a new hyper-realistic FPV simulator. In this simulator you can chase racing cars, fly in the air like in sci-fi movies, fly in the harbor.
I found the feel better than DRL, and liftoff than two styles of feel, how to say it …… are quite really, but really different direction, after all, is the simulator, not the real machine, if the two feel restored at 70%, then they have 30% deviation from each other.
The game physics gravity is low, paddle grip is high, you can adjust a little gravity, lower a little control grip will be able to achieve the real physics engine.
You can enter the data of your FPV drone into it, and the feel is almost the same.
Optimization is very poor, high requirements for the configuration of the computer, but also high requirements for the frame rate, if you lose the frame is easy to dizziness, destroy the drone you control, and even generate boredom.
Although it is said that the image quality is not important compared to the feel, but more often than not I would prefer to play this simulator, the image quality will affect my mood of flying, so it still has some influence.
Now I can play against my historical self and look forward to the online feature soon.
DCL – The Game
DCL like DRL, the picture quality and scene building is not divided, but from the feel, DCL to say better than DRL, will not be like DRL kind of some confusion physics engine completely deviated from the realistic feel, the simulator overall bias towards the game style, levels, arcades, skins, so that’s why its suffix is THE GAME?
The scenes are simulated very realistically and realistically, with the feeling of an international game. As the official says, the map has maps of previous fpv realistic matches.
But some of the physics are quite far from reality. For example, when the drone touches something, it just sticks to it. And when recovering, it’s faded out and in then hard to get the right direction. The game itself is fun to play but gets very annoying.
The simulator includes unique features and many innovations, such as TRYP mode. This will allow you to fly and practice film and TV shoots with outstanding and great performers.
This mode allows you to practice and improve your skills in a variety of scenarios such as motorcycles, racing, spot jumps, wingsuits and more. Also, TRYP mode has a challenge system that allows you to practice your precision skills in specific places.
- Top quality graphics (rare)
- Extreme sports following (rare)
- Increasing difficulty racing challenge
- Sincere open large map with many different difficulty challenges in it (exclusive)
- There are surprise points in each map, such as the valley map where you can find cow herds and more
Not many map items, no collision model when flying into leaves and grass.
FPV Air 2 Simulator
FPV Air 2 is one of the cheapest simulators available at $5. But right wow it is no longer available for purchase on Steam. It is quite simple and the mechanics are good enough for beginners to start learning stunts and FPV flying. But I don’t like that other maps have to be bought separately. There are free solutions if money is tight.
The visuals are passable, and you can customize a lot of parameters, including the physics, user interface, and multiplayer mode. It has most of the features you want in an FPV simulator. It lacks track selection and isn’t as well made as simulators that have been around longer.
Because it offers an “ultra-low” graphics level, the game runs quite well on a sluggish PC. The trees look like wallpaper and there is a lot of motion blur, so the graphics aren’t the nicest. But that is not why we are here. It is compensated by the affordability and flexibility. Since the sim is still in its early stages of development, I’m excited to see what the creator has in store for it in the future.
Orqa created FPV.Skydive, which is totally free to play on Steam!
- Physics feels superior.
- Has a basic training program that makes it simple for novice pilots to begin flying even if they have never used a radio before.
- Although levels and features are being added, the game currently has less to offer than other, more well-known simulators (mostly because this sim is relatively new)
- Compared to other simulations, the racing portion is not as well constructed.
This sim now has an Android/iOS version from Orqa! Although it may not have as much material as the Steam edition, it is far more portable, allowing for on-the-go practice.
Tiny Whoop GO
Try Tiny Whoop GO if you’re looking for a free Tiny Whoop simulator. Most importantly, it’s free, and it feels reasonably realistic (except for the fact that flying feels a little easier than it does in real life).
The pilot Mattystuntz popularized Hot Props, a free simulation that is no longer developed, but was used as a training tool for his mind-bending feats. It is excellent for someone on a budget or looking for something that runs on Android, even if it cannot compete with the expensive sims.
FPV Freerider / FPV Freerider Recharged
The upgraded version of FPV Freerider is called FPV Freerider Recharged. It costs a little bit more to purchase and is centered on larger, more intricate scenery. If you plan to buy the game, I would suggest Recharged since the maps are much more engaging to fly, which increases the game’s fun and longevity.
The simulation itself has fair physics, but nothing particularly impressive. I gather that there isn’t much of a race scene with one, but freestyle is a lot of fun. As a whole, this sim uses fewer resources than others like Liftoff or Velocidrone.
Other FPV Simulators
AI Drone Simulator
It takes your blackbox logs and attempt to imitate your drone in the real world. It costs $20, there isn’t any multiplayer yet…maybe you have more choice.
Flowstate is a free download from Steam. It lacks several elements seen in other paid simulations and is more geared toward racing. This might be your best free drone simulator.
FPV Simulator Price
Here is a list of FPV drone simulator prices, from free to affordable to best budget, expensive are covered.
|FPV Drone Simulator||Price||Buy it|
|TRYP FPV||$13.99||Buy link|
|FPV Freerider Recharged||$9.99||Buy link|
|Aster FPV Sim||$19.99||Buy link|
|AI Drone Simulator||$19.99||Buy link|
What Else Do I Need to Prepare?
Using FPV Goggles
If your FPV goggles have an HDMI port, you can connect them to your computer and use it as an external monitor to play FPV games while wearing the goggles. If you’re just starting out, this can make it easier for you to get used to flying while wearing goggles.
Choose Radio Transmitter
With the radio you can better control, Please remember to check if the emulator you have purchased is compatible with your radio. If you don’t already own a radio, check out the post on shopping for the right radio for you.
LOS Drone Simulator (Line of Sight)
The most of pilots have good FPV skills, but poor line-of-sight (LOS) skills. While practicing LOS techniques in a simulator can be helpful, it’s definitely not the ideal approach.
First of all, a simulator lacks the depth perception you would normally have, making it difficult to determine how far away your quad is on the screen. In addition, the low resolution of a sim makes it difficult to determine direction.
The following sims have LOS capabilities if you want to give it a try:
- In Liftoff, press B to enter LOS mode.
- In Velocidrone, you can zoom into LOS mode by scrolling the mouse wheel.
- In FPV Freerider has a LOS mode.
Which Drone Simulators Work on PC/Mac？
Most of the fpv emulators support Win and Mac systems, individual emulators vary. You can check the graphics below for details
What is The Best FPV Drone Simulator？
At this point it should be abundantly clear that flight simulators are excellent training tools and that even the most expensive simulator will significantly improve your flying skills compared to any quad parts you could purchase for a comparable price.
If you’re looking for a drone simulator, you probably already know whether you want to practice flying first-person drones or learn about commercial drone operations. Of course, this allows you to focus on the simulators that are best for you.
It might be more difficult for people who are just curious or who just want to try flying drones without running the risk of a collision. In that case, I suggest you try a few of the free trials to see what style of flying you like.
such as some of the demos or Hot Props sim. They’ll do the job, but there are better options available for a reasonable price.
Anyone looking for a cheap sim should check out FPV Air 2. I’ve heard it’s great and a great deal considering the price. Sims like Freerider used to be fantastic choices for a comparable cost, but they are a bit outdated now.
For almost anyone looking for a typical sim, would be my recommendation one of the big four: Velocidrone, LiftOff, TRYP FPV, or DCL. These are still the cheapest in the hobby at under $30, they are all feature-rich and fun to play。
If you’re focused on racing, just go out and buy a Velocidrone, it can’t be beat here for performance, playability, and price.
If you want to participate in real-life drone racing events such as the Drone Champions League (DCL) or DRL, the track scenarios are set according to real past race scenarios, and future offline races can be held with an advance preview of the track. Then I recommend you to buy DCL or DRL simulator.
If you are a film and video shooter, then I would recommend the TRYP FPV simulator, which has a TRYP mode. This will allow you to fly and practice film and TV shoots with outstanding and great performers.
This mode allows you to practice and improve your skills in a variety of scenarios such as motorcycles, racing, spot jumps, wingsuits and more.
You are just a freestyle hobbyist player who wants a comprehensive experience with fpv simulators, then I recommend liftoff.
Even though some of these simulators are superior to others in terms of flight dynamics, visuals, drone models, customizability, variety of flight situations, etc., each has its own group of ardent fans who insist that theirs is the best simulator available. Which one you ultimately decide is best depends on your tastes, goals, and budget situation.