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Hybrid aircraft blurs the line between multirotor and airplane
Read the full review in the September 2014 issue of
Model Aviation.
Photos, video, and review by Jon Barnes.




Specifications

Model type: Aerobot/hybrid multirotor aircraft
Skill level: Intermediate to advanced
Wingspan: 60 inches
Wing area: 679 square inches
Length: 37.4 inches
Weight: 5 pounds, 2.3 ounces (without cameras)
Power system: BirdsEyeView Aerobotics PowerPACK
Radio: Spektrum DX9
Construction: EPO foam
Street price: FireFLY6: $499.99; PowerPACK: $399.99

Test-Model Details

Motors: Six BirdsEyeView Aerobotics 400-watt brushless outrunners
Speed controllers: Six BirdsEyeView Aerobotics 30-amp Opto
Batteries: Two Thunder Power G8 Pro Lite 25C 3,900 mAh LiPos
Propellers: APC 10 x 4.5 multirotor (3 tractor, 3 pusher)
Radio system: Spektrum DX18 Gen 2 DSMX; Spektrum AR9020 nine-channel DSMX receiver
Ready-to-fly weight: 6 pounds, 5 ounces
Flight duration: 7 minutes (pure hover) to 15-plus minutes (hybrid flight)


Pluses

• As an aerial media platform, this aircraft blends the best capabilities of multirotor and fixed-wing aircraft.
• The FireFLY6 can take off from and land on nearly any flying field or flat surface.
• Flight durations can be notably longer than those typically achieved by conventional multirotor aircraft.
• Several mounting options for GoPro Hero 3/3+ cameras are provided; the generous payload area can carry a variety of camera gear, FPV equipment, sensors, etc.
• Pivoting carbon front motor shaft is supported by precision bearings.


Minus

• Wiring the power distribution boards requires working with a hot soldering iron inside of the foam fuselage.


Flight Video

13 comments

I want to compliment on the great enginering and construction on this Firefly6 multi rotor plane.

This is a impressive new way of flying rc.Can't tell which feature I like the most of this a/c since every single part of it looks really cool. I'm definitely looking forward to get one.

The FireFLY6 is a very innovative aircraft. This is what Radio Control produces when so many fresh, creative minds are applied to our hobby - and this is what the FAA does not understand about this hobby when they try to control us like when they recently passed legislation such as "Special Rule for Model Aircraft." We RC modelers are a unique group of individuals and whether it is FPV or some other facet of flying, the FAA should not restrict our activity like they are doing. Adam Sloan and John Hampton are to be congratulated.

Currently the Federal Communications Commission (via it's office of Engineering and Technology, in Washington, D.C.) will only accept Wi Fi as a legal way of using a mini/micro video camera downlink for commercial/business/for profit use. Oddly enough they don't require a license to do this. Yet they still require a basic technicians rating ham radio operators license for first person view recreational/hobby/non-profit use, when 5.8GHz or 2.4 GHz frequencies are used. This new machine is going to be my company's (Raptor Air) next aircraft purchase. It is capable of mounting a "Go Pro 3+ hero black", camera that broadcasts a Wi Fi signal to a smart phone, tablet, or a laptop which makes it legal to use for commercial operations.
The FCC does not have any frequencies set aside for sUAS/UAS use at this time for commercial/business/for profit use because no one has started a petition (to be signed by all interested parties) asking them to do so. The petition process is how the FCC would start the process of setting aside frequencies for such use. Basicly the frequencies don't exist because no one has "asked them" to do this.

The downstream signal of the GoPro Hero can interference with the 2,4GHz Transmitter signal!

The people who make these videos don't undererstand that we want to see and HEAR models and not the loud music that ruined the experieience.

Thanks Jim. I couldn't agree with you more with your comment about the music on RC videos. Don't get me wrong, I love music, but I want to hear the model. I want to hear what the operator is saying too, like "this thing is a hand full" or "this is too much fun", whatever. Video makers think we're gonna get bored with the video if there is no music. I think quite the contrary. I want to feel like I'm there at the field, not on MTV.

Without doubt, the FireFly6 is the most innovative and "revolutionary" craft to enter the RC market in years. My compliments to the designer!

Thrilling! Amazingly stable, especially on transition from hover to forward flight.
The video does not show a rolling take-off or a "standard" fixed-wing landing, with landing roll out. Some tilt-rotors have a problem with this -- the landing gear struts are too short to keep the rotors from hitting the ground when the rotors face forward, on the tarmac. So my question is:
Can the FireFly6 take off and land like a fixed-wing airplane, with the rotors facing forward?
Thanks!

article in MA says, "Because FireFLY6 flights begin and end in virtual takeoff and landing style, it can be flown from any airfield without concern for the runway's smoothness." I believe Jon Barnes meant to write "vertical" not "virtual".

I actually originally wrote:

Since FireFLY6 flights begin and end VTOL style, it can be flown from any airfield, without concern for a less than smooth runway surface.

Somebody "de-acronymized" my original words and used "virtual" instead of "vertical". And sincere apologies to those who prefer no music. We will keep that in mind moving forward.

UNBELIEVABLE

hello!
how to buy (flrefly6)?
send me price / delivery .
thanks.

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