Interview – Alexandre Coquoz – FPV Drone

Today we're interviewing Alexandre Coquoz, a professional FPV drone pilot. Alexandre is passionate about FPV and provides video services involving FPV drones to a number of companies.
Drone FPV

Could you explain what an FPV drone is?

Alexandre : FPV comes from First Person View. This means flying with goggles that give you a view of the drone. The flight is carried out in total immersion, allowing the drone to be flown at very high speeds. This creates dynamic images unlike those made with a standard drone.

How did you come up with the idea of flying FPV drones?

Alexandre : To understand this better, we have to go back to 2016, when I was first introduced to FPV drones. In 2016, it wasn’t used commercially at all and it was only used for leisure purposes.

In 2019, commercial use began. That’s when I started flying commercially. For me, FPV drones were a passion and what could be better than being able to make a living from your passion. To date, I’ve hardly ever flown a standard drone.

Which companies use your services?

Alexandre : It can be companies or production companies for real estate projects, as well as for other commercial projects in the automotive or luxury goods sectors. The film industry also sometimes calls on my services. That’s why I’ve bought a drone with a better quality camera, the RED komodo, which allows me to shoot films and larger commercial projects.

What advantages do FPV drones have over standard drones?

Alexandre : The FPV drone brings dynamism with very high speeds up to 150 km/h. The FPV drone is controlled 100% manually, so there are no limits on angles, which gives you a lot of freedom. You can nose dive or turn quickly, which will give your videos a different kind of dynamism. The FPV drone is really a complementary tool to the standard drone.

I’ve seen that you’ve done some FPV drone footage for major brands such as Audemars Piguet and Omega.

Do you think that the FPV drone has changed the way we do advertising or filming?

Alexandre : I don’t think so, but it has opened a new door to ideas for sequences that weren’t possible before. Because you can make movements that are impossible with a standard drone. Since the FPV drone has no limits on movement, as soon as the customer has an idea that’s a bit different  from what’s done with a standard drone, we can try to do it with the FPV drone. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for drone footage.

What are the biggest difficulties you encounter with FPV drones?

Alexandre : In 2016, there was no information on FPV drone regulation, but today there’s a lot of information available online.

In particular, I sometimes receive international requests, and each country has its own regulations, which makes things complicated. There are still quite a few differences in practice between Switzerland and France, even with a common European law. For me, that’s one of the most complicated things.

There are no particular difficulties when it comes to shooting. Sometimes there are shots that clients want that are physically complex or impossible. For example, I’ve been asked to change the floor of a building, which can be complex and even endanger the drone. So we have to assess the risks and also work with the customer to decide whether it can be done safely or not.

You operate drones at very high speeds. Does this present any particular difficulties and how do you manage the risks associated with high speeds?

Alexandre : It’s a bit like a car driver who is very familiar with his car and the risks associated with driving over time. Hundreds of hours of flying in low-risk environments mean that I now know my drone by heart and I know perfectly where the drone will fly and where it won’t. It’s like a car driver who has become very familiar with his car and the risks associated with driving over time.

Has the introduction of European legislation changed anything for your profession?

Alexandre : Yes, this has restricted the possibilities of legally feasible sequences. We used to be able to fly a drone weighing less than 500g with ease almost anywhere in Switzerland, but now we have to keep considerable distances from people for drones weighing more than 250g (without class marking).

In the city, you have to close off large areas, which makes the use of FPV drones more complex. In the future, I’m worried that this will become even more restrictive and that it will completely restrict the use of FPV drones in this area.

What do you think about the new EU regulation for drones?

Alexandre : It’s a very good thing to have regulations that restrict use so that not just anyone can use FPV drones in any context. But it’s important not to make the regulations any more restrictive than they are at present.

In Switzerland, the previous regulations were really ideal and provided greater flexibility. We had more freedom. Unfortunately, many people fly illegally because the regulations are too complex and it’s not easy to obtain exemptions to fly legally.

Why would you like to use a drone in the future?

I want to travel as much as possible to fly drones in the craziest places possible. Whether it’s travelling to make content for social networks or filming abroad.

I’d love to dive by drone from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai because it’s every FPV pilot’s dream.

We hope you do. Thank you for this interview, Alexandre!