The whole thing started on a cold and snowy evening. I was having fun after another busy workday at my PC browsing for all sorts of RC hobbyist goodies, as I was about to start building my new plane. When I was well into yet another attempt to comprehend the section describing telemetry equipment, the idea of building a FPV dawned upon me. After a brief consideration, I was fully determined to add my first FPV to my arsenal.
1. I had little understanding of what telemetry was, as I’d never so much as seen how it worked, to say nothing of using it. I divided the whole thing into two segments: the FPV hardware and the carrier. I decided to start with hardware, so I jotted down a list of priorities as far as my wallet could afford and went to camp on the doorsteps of experienced FPV forum members. My special thanks to you, guys!

Expectedly, my list was obliterated by a wave of sound criticism and completely rearranged. I should say that I was too broke to buy everything at once and I did realize that it had to be a long-term business. Therefore, I chose to buy components gradually, in the order of increasing importance.
My first order included:
1.An autopilot system.
Arkbird Autopilot System w/OSD V3.1020 (GPS/Altitude Hold/Auto-Level)

2. A RC telemetry module and a receiver.
FrSky DJT 2.4Ghz Combo Pack for JR w/ Telemetry Module & V8FR-II RX

3. A video transmitter and receiver 1,200GHz 800МWt

4. [url=]Sony;" 960 H EFFIO-V 800TVL FPV Camera 1/3, Lens 3.6mm, no body[/url].

5. Easycap DVD VHS adapter Win7, Win8, Xp, Vista

The following ESC and motor types were available:
Motor A2830-1050Kv from Avionix
PILOT-5S-40A-L ESC from Avionix
Avionix transmitter is similar to Turnigy9Х

2. Now the carrier.
I decided to build it from scratch focusing on the following characteristics:

1. A strong and spacious fuselage
2. Rear propeller location
3. A shoulder wing
4. Wingspan at least 1.5m
5. Quick and tool-free assembly/disassembly

I decided in favor of IKAR 1600. Most forum members build it from ceiling tiles (some guys chose to reinforce it with balsa). I reinforced the fuselage with aircraft plywood and modified a few joint points as followed from community members’ experiences. We’ll discuss it later. While I was researching on hardware, 30 days lapsed and the package arrived.

3. I chose not to be in a hurry and refrained from installing everything on my plane. I build a makeshift holding frame – a piece of ceiling tile with the hardware on it.

1. Turnigy TGY-R5180MG Servos (2 pcs): Turnigy™ TGY-R5180MG 180 Degree MG Analog Servo 2.0kg / 0.12sec / 12g

2. Camera mount:
FPV Fiberglass Pan-Tilt Camera Mount L-Size

3. HobbyKing 939MG (4 pcs):
HobbyKing™ 939MG Servo MG 2.5kg / 0.14sec / 12.5g

The elevator and the rudder for the ailerons. I bought these servos because they had done well in other models when used in harsh environments.

4. I connected the whole thing to my PC via EasyCAP. To do that, I had to download Virtualdub and face a few issues. There was a black strip at the bottom of the screen, which would magically come and go, and although I did follow the whole load of expert advice, which I got from my hobby mates, I never cleared it. Well, that was not too big a disaster, and I could see no better way of dealing with it than just disregarding it. It wouldn’t make things much worse anyway. What was really bad (compared to having to connect directly to the display) was the delayed image loading, plus other factors, which could contribute to image loss – errors, crashes, shutdowns, etc. Therefore I had to give up this method. However, it was ok as part of primary ground autopilot tuning.

And now a few words about ARKBIRD. The autopilot was intuitive, true to life and quite understandable for even a newbie, so it was really a fly-out-of-the-box one, pretty much thanks to forums and their members who were always ready to help me and explain it to me in detail. I’m not going to focus on setup procedures and I’ll tell you about the traps, which I childishly fell into while setting it up. I had to do it indoors (there was too much stuff to take it outside), and my first problem was related to satellite search. You know that an autopilot won’t enter the menu mode without locating satellites. I was a little tired, because I had worked late at night as I usually did, and it took me quite a while to find the autopilot menu. According to the manual, in order to open the menu, I had to move the stick of the RC transmitter to the rightmost position and hold it for 6 seconds. I tried my hardest and used all methods, but there menu would not show up. And the solution was very simple (again I was very tired). My current aileron deflection was 45% , and in order to open the menu and navigate it I had to use 100% deflection and deactivate all mixes on the transmitter. My second trouble was the elevator's and the ailerons' reaction to deflection (the elevator and the ailerons had been in the reverse mode). I set the menu properly. However, when I connected the autopilot after a little while I discovered once again that the settings had rolled back to the previous mode (that was very serious, because if that happened during flight, the plane would crash). The solution was simple too. The autopilot featured small switches, which duplicate the menu settings. I put them in the right position without changing the menu settings, and that worked. All remaining settings could well be saved in the menu. I set the autopilot up for three-position control. Here is the configuration just for statistics:
state Act
Master GYR
Slave FLP
Offset 000
Up -100
dn 000
State act
Master GYR
Slave Flp
Sw nor
L 000.0%
1 000.0%
2 000.0%
3 000.0%
H 000.0%
State act
Master GYR
Slave Flp
Sw ID2
L 100.0%
1 100.0%
2 100.0%
3 100.0%
H 100.0%
In AUX-CH section

GEAR up (on) - the stabilize mode (the antenna icon)
GEAR up (on) - three-positioner down - the home mode (the home icon)

5. Then I bolted the motor to a 5-litre bottle half-filled with water and placed it on the scales, so I could calculate current consumption and thrust level. Propellers:
Hobbyking™ Propeller 11x5 Black (CW) (2pcs)

APC Style Propeller 10x5 Grey (CCW) (2pcs)

3s 2200mah 30c Lipo Battery
E-prop 11x5, thrust - 1170g, 21А
APC Style Propeller 10x5, thrust 930g, 20A

I chose the latter, because Prop 11x5 seemed to cause the motor to overheat.
6. When I was through with initial settings, I began to build a carrier. Here is a list of materials, which I used:

1. Aircraft plywood (1,5mm and 0,8mm) .
2. Ceiling tile
3. Laminate bedding, 5mm
4. Carbon tube 4х2/7.5х9/7х5
5. Carbon rod, 3mm/2mm
6. Carbon tube, 14mm
7. Black/orange film Covering Film - Dark Yellow 407 (5mtr)
Covering Film Solid Black (5mtr) 114

8. Steel rod, 1.5mm
Also, there were sundries like horns, hinges, pull rods, etc.
Glue types: Titan and epoxy.

I bought all that at Moscow stores, and I should say I could have saved quite a bit if I had ordered the stuff directly from abroad. I decided to build it based on IKAR 1600 drafts. I made the fuselage higher to provide room for an 11-size prop in case of upgrade, as well as increased the width and the length for more convenient mounting ad use of equipment.

The fuselage bottom was made of 0,8mm plywood covered with a piece of ceiling tile.

7. I crafted a tailboom joint (vertical tail) from a piece of 1,5mm plywood. Eventually, I made three partitions with a boom cutout, and the fourth one had no cutout. The tailboom is held by a through-connection (you can buy it at an electronic shop, and they can be of different diameters). The upward- or sideways-tilted engine mount is made of 1.5 plywood. The wing-bearing walls are made of 0.8mm plywood. I reinforced the tube mounting points with a 1.5mm plywood strip and made maintenance hatches. I also thought about making doors and eventualy put it off until later. Finally, I made runners for the shelf, on which the autopilot would be mounted.

The surfaces of the 110-degree V-shaped tail are made of a ceiling tile, and each one is reinforced with two 4mm bearer carbon tubes. I set the tubes at different intervals to prevent them from overlapping. Meanwhile, I set them at a width that allowed me to mount servos at a fixed distance from the rudders’ edges.

8. The lifting wing is made of a piece of 5mm laminate bedding topped with ceiling tile. I reinforced it with 7.5х9 and 7х5 tubes. Then I wound 2mm wire hooks to the tubes’ bottom ends with glue-soaked caprone thread. The end ribs consist of two layers of ceiling tile foam and 1.5mm plywood. Then I drilled through holes in the ribs and later ran the reinforcement tubes through the holes.

I cut out ailerons and glued them to the ceiling foam strips. Also, I reinforced all flight control surfaces with a 2mm carbon rod.

I fused PVC pull rod tubes into the hinges’ holes.

9. Next came the winglets. This technique is tricky in its own way, because two ceiling foam layers should be bent in two different planes. I did it in the following way: first, I cut a rib out of a piece of ceiling tile along the wingtip. Then I cut 3mm off from the rib, so that the winglet would flush with the ceiling foam rim. Although the ceiling tile was 4mm thick, I cut off 3mm, because fitting it perfectly is quite a challenge (at least for me), so the winglet would be 1mm thicker on both sides after attachment. To make the wing profile look ideal, I sanded off the prominence. Then I glued the cut-out ceiling foam winglet elements to the rib, but without gluing the elements together, and gave them a shape of the rib of about 1/3 of the wing's length; then I bent them at a 45-degree angle, fixed and glued them together at that angle. Before doing that I had rolled the tile with a tube (or something like that) to make it more flexible. After sanding off the winglet I glued it to the wing. This is how it looked:

10. Now let’s discuss the cam. It was caseless, and I made a case out of a piece of 0.8mm plywood bolting it together, so that it could be disassembled when necessary. Then I covered the case with black film.

I used a gimbal as a rear cover.

I cut a mount out of a piece of 1.5mm plywood and attached the cam using two self-tappers. The camera and the mount could be removed/mounted conveniently any time without using glue.

The lid is held by magnets.

11. Here is the video transmitter mount. Pieces of 1.5mm plywood on the inside and on the outside. The transmitter can be pulled through the cockpit by stretchers, which are run through the holes. The mount itself is glued to the cockpit.

12.Next come horns, hinges, pull rods, film and whatever was to be done about these items.

I fixed two 2,200mAh batteries in the nose as I had planned to, and it was ok except there was tail heaviness. Instead of adding weight to the nose, I chose to make it 10cm longer.

The plane gained extra 40g. That’s it.

Here is my assistant growing tired and crashing out.

13. I chose not to mount the Autopilot and the video. I wanted to test it in the as-is shape. The centering was ok, and so was the takeoff; if flown without a slowdown it would soar; the landing was fine, no flipovers. However, the pitch was very unstable. That was like fighting for the last. Therefore, when I got back home I felt a little upset. After a little consideration, I decided to replace the V-tail with a T-tail.

14.I built the framework out of 4mm rods, which were epoxy-glued together with thread at a 90-degree angle.

After the reconstruction it flew without a hitch. It was very slow – just as it was meant to be, but I could speed up pretty much if I really wanted to. Anyway, its flying capabilities made me feel happy.

Then I went back home to install the telemetry. The work started with the building of a damper.

15. I made the camera and the video transmitter cable of a shielded IT cable and connected the shield to the Autopilot’s negative lead. Now I know that I could have simply used a USB cable, but it was not until I finished the job that I realized that. Also, I bought a GPS GLONASS receiver module, Ublox NEO-M8N BN-800 GPS Module Support GPS GLONASS BeiDou For Pixhawk APM
since I’d read that it’d work much better. Yes, it did – it caught signals from 7 satellites inside my room!
Then I made a box out of a piece of 0.8mm plywood, covered it with black adhesive tape and bolted it to the fuselage.

16. TV
After a little forum browsing I chose Supra STV-LC16740WL. It features a 12V power supply, an analogous input, boasts bright picture and no blue screen. To reduce heat, I installed a 40mm PC radiator.

Here is the type of video recorder, which I purchased
SD DVR High Resolution Digital Video Recorder for FPV

The whole system is powered by three paralleled 3-cell batteries. Buying a low voltage alarm is a must!

My transportation box:

17. Flight weight totaled 1750g, all equipment and two 2200mAh batteries. The takeoff and flight was stable, minimal speed - 25-30km/h. Wing surface area – 29dm2.
Please, watch my first FPV flight, that was unforgettable! I did not fly too far, I was just testing Autopilot modes. It did very well, so I gave it a decent A!

18. As you can see, aileron sensitivity should be turned down, because it may get too bobbly. I started building it in February. Although I did have seven-day-or-so breaks, it took a good amount of effort. Now I don’t feel like it was a waste of time.

Yours sincerely
This is the translated version. You can read the original Russian article here.