Control the drone, be the drone
To control your drone, you need a transmitter — more commonly known as a controller. Your controller will become your companion and, like your goggles, is one of the main monetary investments required when getting into FPV racing. Potentially, you’ll use it for years to come, with many different machines.
Spektrum, JR, Futaba, Tactic, FrSky — there are many transmitter makes and models to choose from. I use a FrSky Taranis X9D Plus
($240), which has become commonplace in drone racing for its affordable price, variety of features, and its use of the flexible open-source OpenTX firmware.
Another great option is the Spektrum DX9
($450), which has a higher-quality feel and is easy to use with the many BNF airframes from Horizon Hobby. Team BlackSheep also developed a controller specifically for FPV racing, the TBS Tango
($249.95). The design looks a lot like a video-game console controller with a built-in video screen. It’s compatible with just about any R/C receiver on the market, including FrSky, Spektrum, and Futaba.
At a cost of $200-600, transmitters can be quite an investment — especially considering you can build your racing drone for the same price. But it’s worth the cash to have a transmitter you’re happy with. Both the transmitter and FPV goggles tend to hold decent resale value for up to one year — so if you decide your gear isn’t exactly what you want, you can get back some of your hard-earned dough.