A drone flies and then a drone flies. While the former always involves gentle climbs and careful descents, the latter can involve staggering speeds, sudden turns, and, if you’re still learning the ropes, lots of falls.
These faster and more challenging flights are often performed by first person view (FPV) drones. For strangers, FPV flights mean buckling up a headset to get an impressive real-time view of the drone’s flight via the front-facing camera. FPV flights typically use smaller, faster, and more versatile drones than your popular DJI Mavic machine. Pilots often build their own devices according to their own flight styles.
To see what the best FPV pilots can achieve, we scoured the internet for footage of spectacular flights in different scenarios.
So put a soft pillow for your jaw on the floor because the efforts listed below are nothing short of amazing. A mixture of incredible speed, fantastic movement and breathtaking precision, these FPV drone videos will impress you.
Acrobatics in an abandoned building
Drone pilot: Mr. Steele
Flight: Sit back and enjoy this high-speed tour of a derelict, graffiti-covered building that includes some detours along the way. Mr. Steele displays a wide range of dazzling skills and somehow manages to keep his machine from slamming against a wall.
Jaw drop move: At 1:57 am, Mr. Steele propels his drone into the sky before shooting it right through a hole in the roof.
Medieval castle maneuvers
Drone pilot: Benoit finch
Flight: Finck won a GoPro Award for this wonderful cinematic achievement that captures the serene beauty of Mont-Saint-Michel, an island in Normandy, France, with a 16th century castle. The highly polished sequence contains many impressive drone movements as well as a correspondingly sparkling soundtrack that fits the action perfectly.
Jaw drop move: At the 1:32 mark, Finck falls from a great height before he comes around and – with great precision – flies through a small opening.
Dive down the Burj Khalifa
Drone pilot: Johnny FPV
Flight: In another nifty production, Johnny FPV takes his FPV drone on a breathtaking tour of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The drone flight is certainly just as spectacular as the backdrop itself, as the experienced pilot pushes his flying machine to the limit.
Jaw drop move: At the 39 second mark, admire how Johnny FPV manages to seemingly brush against the shiny exterior of the building as he bypasses it at high speed.
Ballet bowling alley
Drone pilot: Jay Christensen
Flight: Filmed at the Bryant Lake Bowl and Theater in Minneapolis, this FPV drone video made international headlines in 2021. The drone flight was carefully choreographed and later provided with a specially designed audio track. He takes us on a typical tour of the night bowling alley.
Jaw drop move: There are some amazing moments in this brilliantly recorded video, but we go for the 23 second moment where Christensen performs a tricky maneuver and steers his Cinewhoop drone from the bowling alleys to the machines behind it.
Skimming summit in Madeira
Drone pilot: Ellis van Jason
Flight: Forget about sweeping wide shots from above. Here van Jason takes us on a high-speed exploration of the beautiful landscape of Madeira – an island off the north-western tip of Africa – that speeds over cliffs, through gorges and over the sea.
Jaw drop move: For us, it’s the 13-second mark at which van Jason brushes the side of the rocks before suddenly turning down into a narrow opening. We don’t know if or how much the footage has sped up, but it’s a decent maneuver nonetheless, and it looks great here.
Chasing a roller coaster
Drone pilot: Viggo Koch
Flight: Koch uses a GoPro action camera attached to a purpose-built drone that also carries a Foxeer Falkor first-person view camera. The roller coaster ride that Koch follows at one point reaches 100 km / h. The ace pilot can make it look easy and stays close to the cars of the roller coaster through all the twists and turns.
Jaw drop move: At the 32-second mark, Koch turns his drone sharply before weaving it through a pair of support masts for the roller coaster. It’s a lightning-quick step; blink and you will miss it.
A beach cruise in the sky
Drone pilot: Robert McIntosh
Flight: For something a little different, enjoy this early morning flyover from Venice Beach. It is not high speeds or crazy acrobats that distinguish this, but the precise movements and the cinematic production. McIntosh filmed it flying forward (as opposed to going the other direction and having the camera face behind you) and later flipped the film before adding sound effects and some stabilization. And yes, as this video confirms, he really did flow his tiny drone through that little tire.
Jaw drop move: No doubt – the tire shot! Even with the FPV glasses on, it would not have been easy, as you can only see the narrow opening when you are very close.
Catch a drift
Drone pilot: Johnny FPV
Flight: Johnny FPV’s second appearance in this compilation is a great example of how drone footage can add another exciting layer to motorsport by being close to the track to give the audience a realistic view of what’s going on. We just hope drivers don’t find it too distracting when the drone falls and appears right in front of the windshield!
Jaw drop move: At the 2:28 mark, Johnny FPV chases a car before flying over the car behind it before settling behind it.
Crash a house party
Drone pilot: Robert McIntosh
Flight: It may be highly produced and carefully choreographed, but that takes none of McIntosh’s incredible efforts in this commercial for music distribution company AWAL, which culminates in its second appearance in this compilation.
Jaw drop move: It comes early, after just six seconds, when the drone goes out through the window of the car and through the open door. Before drones, Hollywood directors would have done a few video tricks to make this possible, but now all they have to do is hire a very talented drone pilot.
Zip through the forest
Drone pilot: Wren Weichman
Flight: OK, this isn’t the most amazing FPV drone flight you’ll ever see, but its raw nature and abrupt ending make it the perfect place to wrap up this compilation. The flight is flown by YouTuber from Los Angeles and the visual effects artist Wren Weichman with the FPV drone from DJI and takes us on a fast and fascinating journey through an area full of trees. The machine weaves and gives way. It is no surprise that at some point the pilot will be out of luck pushing the drone faster and into increasingly tricky spaces. This article on digital trends has more information about the disastrous drone flight.
Jaw drop move: It must be 1:04 a.m. when Weichman accidentally hits the drone directly against a tree. The drone was still working after that. And the tree was fine too.