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All-in-One quadcopter ensures success.
Flight video and article excerpts from the June 2013 issue.
Video, photos, and article by Terry Dunn.


Specifications

Type: Ready-to-Fly Multirotor
Frame Width: 11.4 inches
Frame Diameter: 15.4 inches
Radio: Six-channel 2.4 GHz system (included)
Minimal Flying Area: Park
Price: $679.99
Components Needed To Complete: Four AA batteries for transmitter
Power System: Four outrunner brushless motors; 8 x 4.5 propellers; 30-amp ESCs; 3S 2200 mAh LiPo battery (all included)
Duration: 10-plus minutes
Flying Weight: 28.0 ounces without camera mount; 32.1 ounces with GoPro Hero 2


Pluses

• Very refined and complete package.
• Super easy to fly.
• Performs as advertised.


Minuses

• LED status codes are difficult to interpret.
• Included camera mount prone to vibration.


Video



Article Excerpts

I think it is difficult to look at a multirotor model and not be impressed by the precision and ingenuity that makes it such a novel and utilitarian machine. At the same time, many of us find it impossible to view the yards of exposed wiring and myriad antennae sprouting from unidentifiable black boxes without raising an eyebrow in silent, dumbfounded confusion.

The DJI Phantom provides a less intimidating approach to learning the ropes of multirotor operation. It includes the radio, brushless power system, stabilization, GPS, and other components that you probably didn’t even know you needed. While most of these widgets are typically considered a la carte necessities, DJI has saved you the trouble of choosing which units will work well together. More importantly, all of these items are installed, configured, and ready for flight.

There is no question that the Phantom has catapulted me into the once daunting world of high-end multirotors. For me, having factory-integrated and configured components in a prebuilt machine has made the transition easy. I’m learning this stuff by example rather than expensive trial and error. While the Phantom is not cheap, I don’t think that you could piece together a machine with similar capabilities for any less cost. It is an effective turnkey solution for aspiring (or established) multirotor pilots.[dingbat]

Read the entire full article in the June 2013 issue of Model Aviation magazine.

—Terry Dunn
boaw@comcast.net





1 comments

I was interested to read that you felt this was less intimidating that other multi-rotors. If that is indeed the case, I would hate to fly the more intimidating ones!!

Seriously, this has to be one of the most difficult pieces of equipment ever to get comfortable with, for video production at least. You see these beautiful videos coming from these things...I would hate to think how long it actually takes those people to get good enough to get such shots.

Admittedly, I have only had mine a week, and I would guess NOT trying to get video from the thing would make flying one MUCH more enjoyable, but I have flown it every day since and each time the thing intimidates me. The aggressiveness in which they start, take off and fly - for a novice - is very intimidating indeed. And then you watch $2000 of kit take to the sky (GoPro, Gimbal and FPV gear included) and you continually think of all the stories you have read of them simply flying off of their own accord, never to be seen again...made worse by realising that you don't really know what you're doing and would struggle if something did go wrong mid-flight! I just have to remember to switch off the remote if it starts flying away...hopefully the bird will come home to Daddy! :-)

I purchased this thinking it would add another dimension to my video production business, which indeed it does. But I was hoping to recoup the expense quickly to satisfy the wife that this was not just a toy and a waste of money. Boy, was I mistaken. It's going to take me a good while to get fluent enough with it before I can present myself as "professional" with this piece of gear.

The other side to this is that the batteries are woeful. 5 minutes each at best. I bought an extra 4 of the things and that's only enough to have say 20 - 30 mins of fun at a time, if that! So you just start to get the hang of it and you have to go home and start charging again!

For professional use or if you simply wanted to have a decent go at it, you would have to have at least 10 of the batteries. Perhaps more. Add another $300.

There is a lot about these to like including the promise of wonderful video. But those thinking of buying one need to know that they are nowhere near as easy to get good video pictures out of as some would have you think. A lot of practice, a lot of crashes, a lot of failures, a lot of anxiety-ridden flying, a lot of wind-free days. I am counting on getting to a point in the near future, however, where I will be confident enough in the device to send it up into the air without breaking out in a sweat.

Good luck and patience to everyone who buys one for video!

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