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Betaflight Modes Series - Horizon Mode for Beginners

Drone Camps / Modes Series / HORIZON Mode

Horizon Mode is the 2nd most popular beginner mode.

Horizon mode is an important 2nd step for beginner pilots.

To start your journey, it's recommended to follow this Drone Camps RC series on flight modes. In this article, we will discuss Horizon Mode, how it works, and why it's important to start training in this mode after mastering Angle Mode.

Horizon Mode

Horizon mode is a popular flight mode in Betaflight that offers a mix of self-leveling and acronyms modes combined. In this mode, the quadcopter will self-level when the sticks are released, if you push the stick far enough it then also allows for flips, rolls, and other acrobatic maneuvers. This part of our Drone Camps Modes Series will cover some tips on how to fly in Horizon mode, including the differences between Horizon mode, Angle mode, and Acro mode.

Differences between Horizon, Angle, and Acro modes

Angle mode is the simplest flight mode in Betaflight. Pilots should start flying fpv in Angle mode. It offers self-leveling and altitude hold features that help beginners learn how to fly without worrying about crashing or losing control of the quadcopter. In Angle mode, the quadcopter maintains its level attitude and altitude. Letting go of the stick returns the quad to a level position. But does not have altitude hold or position hold like DJI drones.

Acro mode is the most advanced mode and is designed for expert pilots who want complete control over their quads. In this mode, the self-leveling and altitude hold features are disabled, and the quadcopter will perform whatever maneuver the pilot inputs into the sticks with no leveling help. Acro mode allows for flips, rolls, and other acrobatic maneuvers, but it requires more skill and experience to fly safely. This is the last mode you will master in this Modes Series. Download Liftoff Simulator for practicing Acronyms mode before real world flying. This will save you many crashes, repairs, and real world costs.

Horizon mode is a mix of Angle and Acro mode. It provides the self-leveling and stability of Angle mode and the agility and responsiveness of Acro mode. In this mode, the quadcopter will self-level when the sticks are released, but it will also allow for flips, rolls, and other acrobatic maneuvers when the stick passes a certain point towards the center. Horizon mode is a great mode for intermediate pilots who want to practice advanced maneuvers while maintaining some level of stability. If you let go of the sticks in Horizon mode the quad will level. Push the stick far out and it will flip and roll.

Learning to fly in Horizon mode

1. Start in Angle mode ( Explained in a previous tutorial )

Before switching to Horizon mode, it's a good idea to start in Angle mode and get comfortable with basic flying maneuvers. Angle mode is the best mode for beginners to start with, as it provides the most stability and self-leveling.

2. Practice hovering.

Once you're comfortable with basic flying maneuvers in Angle mode, it's time to practice hovering in Horizon mode. Hovering in Horizon mode is similar to hovering in Angle mode, but it requires more control over the sticks. Use small stick movements to maintain altitude and keep the quadcopter level.

3. Practice aerobatic maneuvers while flying in Fpv Goggles.

At this point you should be wearing your fpv goggles. Once you're comfortable hovering in Horizon mode, it's time to practice some aerobatic maneuvers. Start with simple flips and rolls, and gradually work your way up to more complex maneuvers. Use small stick movements to control the quadcopter, and always make sure to maintain altitude and orientation.

4. Avoid excessive stick movements

In Horizon mode, the quadcopter will self-level when the sticks are released. However, if you move the sticks too far, the quadcopter can flip or roll unexpectedly. It is important to understand how far the stick can move before the quad flips and rolls. This varies depending on the quadcopter's setup, so it's important to test it out in a safe area. Start with small stick movements and gradually increase the range of motion until you find the limit of the quadcopter's stability. Avoid making sudden or excessive stick movements, especially when the quadcopter is close to the ground.

5. Practice in a safe area

Always practice flying in Horizon mode in a safe area like a large open field with no trees. Avoid flying near people, buildings, or other obstacles that could cause damage or injury in the event of a crash. Also avoid a first time Horizon mode flight over concrete or parking lots. Make sure your beeper works if you are near tall grass, trees, or thick bushes.

6. Use a flight timer

When flying in Horizon mode, it's easy to lose track of time and run out of battery. Use a flight timer to keep track of your flight time and make sure you land your quadcopter before the voltage runs out. A safe timer for a 5” drone is usually 3 mins.

Your first Rolls

After you have hovered, and flown some in Horizon mode you are now ready to try your first rolls. We suggest flying out a good distance from yourself and others. Fly about 50 feet up or more. Level out the quad in a straight line. Fly forward. Using the right stick. Quickly push the stick to the right and let go. Your quad should do a complete roll. If not try again. Try to time it so the quad is level again when you let go of the stick. When you let go of the stick it should return to level. Now try a roll to the left. Continue your forward flight. Timing is everything. Try this for an entire pack to get used to it. Great work! Nice flips!

Your first Flips

A flip is a forward or backward rotation in 360º. With fly up to a good height. Push the right stick forward to the edge to perform a front flip. Pull right stick back to make a backflip. Practice using less throttle on the exit of the flip. Timing is essential. Throttle up slightly going into your flip. Let off the throttle as you come out of the flip. Maintain your speed and forward path keeping the nose up. Careful not to lose all throttle and altitude.

Your first Loops

Now you can practice your first loops. It’s good to do your first loops in a smaller radius. And then move to what we call “Big Loops” later. They look really cool to anyone watching. And just feel cool to perform. Start small. Nose the quad slightly down and bring the throttle up. As you bring up the throttle also bring up the nose of the quad using the right stick pulling back. Continue to bring up the throttle as you are going up. Continue pulling back with the right stick. At the apex of your loop your quad will be upside down. As you come around keep pulling back on the right stick and let off the throttle some. Level out and maintain throttle! Do not fly into the ground. If you do don’t be surprised. It happens. That’s why we suggest a tighter loop to begin with. As you progress you will do larger and larger loops.

Practice flying Horizon Mode for a few weeks. Continue flying your simulator in Acro mode. We suggest a few weeks of horizon mode and simulator practice before moving on to Acro mode!

Next in this Drone Camps Mode Series… ACRO Mode. The “Holy Grail” of Fpv.

Article by Justin Davis of Drone Camps RC, USA. ® Rights Reserved

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