While there are other resources that go into far greater detail than I will on this post, I felt the need to help some of the newer folks just starting to fly mini quads with the most important three flight modes that the Naze32 has to offer: Angle, Horizon, and Rate (aka: manual or acro). While I highly suggest that everyone learns rate right off the get-go, I wanted to touch on what the three modes do and how you can use them (if you must) to foster your abilities in rate mode.
Angle mode is a stabilized mode that will not allow your mini quad to spin in any direction past a set angle (50 degrees). This means that with your hands off the controls, it will use the accelerometer and the gyroscope to keep the mini quad leveled (as long as you calibrated it correctly in Baseflight/Cleanflight). You may also have to “trim it out” on your radio to achieve the best performance. I only use this mode on an “emergency switch” that I use if I lose orientation during a roll or flip during rate mode flight.
Horizon mode is a mix between Angle mode and Rate mode, offering stabilization while the pitch/roll stick is near center, but rate mode at it’s endpoints. This allows a pilot to fly in a stabilized manner, but still perform rolls and flips when really pushing on the pitch/roll stick. This mode is OK to use for a session or two in order to get a feel for what it’s like to be upside-down during FPV. Beyond that – try to leave it be.
Rate Mode (aka: Manual Mode or Acro Mode)
This is the default mode that the Naze32 is in if nothing else is selected when configuring modes in Baseflght/Cleanflight. This is the way mini quads were meant to be flown – and if you’ve ever watched any crazy FPV videos and wondered how a pilot was able to fly so fast and controlled – it was because they were flying in rate. Rate mode uses the gyro sensor found on the Naze32, which takes the pitch/roll stick inputs speed and angle and translates it into the rate at which the quad rotates on that particular axis. The reason you want to fly in rate is so that you won’t have to fight against the stabilization provided by the other modes – which will lead to smoother flying and better video capture. It will also let you perform banked turns and make small adjustments to get through small gaps much more easily than a stabilized mode.
Here is a video that I made awhile back to show the differences between rate and horizon modes. Perhaps it will help to better illustrate the differences:
Hopefully all this has helped explain some of the flight modes offered by the Naze32, and helps you to take your first steps towards your Rate Mode Enlightenment. Remember: If you’re not crashing, you’re not flying! 🙂