Difference between Horizon, Angle, Acro and Air Mode - Written by Daniel Harley (Phoenix FPV)
When starting off in FPV, many beginners, as well as me, always wonder what the best way of learning FPV is, and in particular, the different flying modes, 3 being horizon, angle and acro mode. You might have heard or seen these modes in your Flight Controllers settings, but aren’t too sure of what they mean.
Firstly, these different flight modes are responsible for helping the pilot in flying the drone in whatever mode it is in. However, when using a brand new flight controller, it will always be in acro mode by default.
Horizon and angle mode are two modes that are considered as self-leveling modes, and have very similar characteristics to how the drone flies except for one feature. A feature used in this self-level mode is that if the pilots were to let go of the stick, the drone would put itself back to its “leveled” orientation.
When moving the pitch and roll sticks to their maximum position, angle mode also has a maximum position set so the drone WILL NOT flip. However, when in horizon mode, the drone WILL flip on the pitch and roll stick inputs. This would be good for starting off flying whoops around your household.
For flying outside, whether it's freestyling or racing, acro mode is the way to go for beginners to start out with. Acro mode is where the pilot has to constantly keep the sticks moving in order to maneuver the drone. If the pilot were to take their hands off the controller, the drone will continue to fly in the last orientation the pilot set it to. This mode is great to practice on as a beginner as you can achieve and practice many different flying techniques.
So, in summary:
Angle mode will remain level without any need for stick input and will not flip.
Horizon mode will remain level without any need for stick input and will flip.
Acro mode requires constant stick input to manually level the drone to the horizon.
Setting up Angle and Horizon Mode:
The first step in enabling Angle and/or Horizon mode is to make sure you have your Accelerometer enabled. This can be found in the Configuration menu:
Go down to the modes area and then assign Horizon or Angle to a switch:
When you’re flying, you will be able to change from Acro, Angle and Horizon easily just from flicking a switch.
To learn these different flying modes without damaging your actual drone, you can try them all out in any simulator!
I left air mode to the very end as this mode really works best with acro enabled. If you just had acro mode enabled (by default in most flight controllers) whenever your throttle stick is at zero, manoeuvring the drone while it is in the air is harder than being in air mode. Air mode still keeps the PIDs looping even when the throttle stick is at zero (find out about PIDs here). This enables the pilot to have control of pitch, roll and yaw, making it easier to do aerobatics while free falling, as well as having extended control over the whole range of the throttle stick.
Setting up Air Mode
To enable Air mode, you can find it in the Configuration menu here:
Have fun flying!