Flying an AR Drone is one of the most fun experiences you’ll find anywhere. R/C helicopters have long been a blast, and they’ve been getting more affordable and easier to fly. This drone by Parrot is a big leap forward. It uses 4 rotors, with opposite rotation directions for each pair. This means it doesn’t need a tail rotor and is inherently easier to fly. The on-board computer electronics include rotation sensors that make it the easiest heli around to learn. There’s even sonar for helping to stabilize altitude. To add to the fun there’s both a downward and forward looking cameras, with real-time wireless video. Perhaps best of all, you can control it from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
AR Drone Fun
You can fly this Drone quadricopter both indoors as well as outdoors, and it’s actually easier to control than the miniature cheapies. It’s great fun just flying around, and the cameras and other features will keep you interested and entertained for quite a long time.. It even comes with a couple of Augmented-Reality video games.
The Drone is a bit less than two feet square and very light, about 1 pound including the battery. Flight time about 10 minutes. A few people have complained about this, but it’s actually about the same flight time as a gas (nitro) fueled r/c helicopter.
This drone helicopter has some pretty amazing on-board guidance. There’s a 3-axis accelerometer as well as a 2-access gyroscope. The sonar provides altitude stabilization up to about 20 feet. You can go higher than that, but height will shift up and down a bit Radio range is limited by Apple’s wi-fi communication to about 150 feet.
Both cameras are color. The front camera is VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels) at a relatively slow 15 frames per second. The downward looking camera is much faster (60 frames per second) but only 176 x 144 pixels resolution (QCIF).
The Good Stuff
It’s an electric helicopter, so there’s no fuel or exhaust to worry about and you can fly it indoors. The Drone includes a bumper guard to help protect the blades during indoor flying. Without the guard you can fly it outdoors where it’ll go up to about 10 miles per hour. It’s powerful enough to handle light winds, though you should be cautious.
The included guidance sensors make it very easy to fly, stabilizing rotations and drift. In addition to the sonar, the computer actually uses the downward camera image helping to maintain position and altitude.
You control the AR Drone quadricopter through your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using a free-download application. This gives you a graphic user interface that combines real-time video from the heli with visual controls and buttons. You can also use your iPwhatever tilt and motion sensors to control the heli.
“Best. Flying. Toy. Period. Nothing even comes close. Similar quad copters have been around for years and are very costly. Parrot has done an excellent job … for a fraction of the cost…”
“I’m having an absolute blast with it … well worth the purchase price many times over. Treat yourself and have some fun”
“…Cool factor is 10/10! This thing just looks like an alien space craft and I guarantee if you put it out in the front yard you’ll have every kid in the neighborhood running to see it….
This Is the Drone You’re Looking For
The Parrot Drone is pulling in rave reviews for a combination of great features at a reasonable price. It’s virtual reality turned outside out. Controlled by your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you also get it’s birds-eye view from two on-board cameras. It’s automatic stabilization is way ahead of most others, making flying more fun and less troublesome. The AR Drone is a fantastic starter rc helicopter, and great fun for experienced flyers. Once you see one it becomes a gotta-have.