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Gear & Gadgets...


We got three black boxes and square carbon fiber frame in a package last week.  It sat around the office for a day before somebody noticed.  When we opened up the boxes the first question out of our intern Buffy's mouth was... "I didn't order this.  I swear".

We looked at the directions and realized it was the "fully assembled" Draganflyer helicopter with an onboard wireless videocam.  We had placed an order for this back in June, but we told them we wouldn't need it until Columbus Day weekend.  Now that it is finally here... we have a week to put it together and learn to fly it before the whole office heads up to Maine.

The three boxes had bags of parts with wires protruding in every direction, bits and pieces of screws, connectors, and circuitry. 

It might not looked "fully assembled", but all the really hard work (QA of the main electronics assembly, camera check, radio check, test flight, etc...) had already been done at the factory.

There were four direct drive motors at the end of each carbon fiber arm.  The arms connect at the center braced by four legs and a thin carbon fiber platform.  All the wiring for the motor and the XTreme video camera were already in place and ready for hook up.

The largest of the three boxes contained two bags, one appeared to be the parts (transmitter/receiver, cables, etc...) for the wireless video camera.  The other bag had misc structural parts (rotors, green aluminum things, rods, etc...)

The smallest of the three boxes had all of the electronics (main circuit assembly, batteries, etc...)

The box also contained some serious looking rechargeable batteries ... Li-Polymer, with the specific warning to NEVER leave unattended while charging.  Yet another task for the RainyDayMagazine intern!

The main circuit assembly also had support for an onboard wireless video camera.  Most of the video electronics will remain grounded. The video will be captured onboard and wirelessly transmitted to the AV receiver.  The big white square thing is the AV receiver's antenna.

The actual video camera was smaller than my thumb.  We think the black O-ring in the bag is the only thing that will be holding this $350 camera on the Draganflyer.  Hey... didn't NASA have a small issue with O-rings?

We were not sure what "Thermal Intelligence" was at first.  We thought it had something to do with the heat seeking missiles option that we had decided not to purchase.  However, it turned out "TI" was a very cool feature of the Draganflyer.  With TI enabled, the Draganflyer was capable of "self leveling " when flown outside.  It worked by detecting the heat difference between the sky and the ground... very intelligent, thermally speaking!!!

The last box contained the remote control unit ... to the Space Shuttle.  We PROMISE we'll glance at the manual before touching any of the knobs and sliders :-)

Now that we have throughly familiarized ourselves with all of the components of the Draganflyer, it was time to put it together and buzz the office cat!!!





By Wan Chi Lau

Dragonflies are probably one of the coolest flying insects on the planet.  They can hover, fly forward, backwards, and maneuver in ways unimaginable for fixed wing aircrafts.

The Draganflyer is probably one of the coolest helicopter on the planet. Based on the company's video, a good pilot will be able to land it on a dime!

We got one in the mail a week ago.  We'll be documenting every stage of this project.

In the Unpacking article, we did what all confused, but excited geeks do when they get a few boxes of parts... they lay them out carefully, examine them closely, and guess at their purpose :-)

In the Assembly article, we'll document the process of putting the Draganflyer together.

We'll then spend the rest of the week learning how to fly the thing (into every wall of the office).  Hopefully by Columbus Day weekend, we'll be good enough with it that we can take it with us on the trip up to Maine.  If we were good enough, we may even bring back Fall foliage videos from the Draganflyer's perspective!


1. Unpacking

2. Assembly

3. FirstFlight

4. InTheWild


Review Summary:

Initial Impression- Fully Assembled?

Usability- Easily Assembled!

Durability- Test in progress

Price- $1500 including shipping.


Related Reviews:

1. BladeRunner Helicopter



Photography by Wan Chi Lau
Rainy Day Magazine is a Publication of Rainy Day Entertainment Group © 2005