I have seen the future of drones, and it’s called the Parrot Disco
A month or so ago, Parrot, eponymous producer of mid- and low-priced drones, did something unusual. It announced a new drone – not a quadcopter of the type everyone has been getting so overheated about for the past year or so – but a fixed-wing, glider-style UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), the Parrot Disco. …
Aren’t fixed-wing aircraft incredibly tricky to pilot and amazingly easy to crash? Well, yes, but the Parrot Disco is no ordinary glider … Its main appeal is, in fact, that it’s far from tricky to fly; it’s just as accessible as a quadcopter. It’s as easy to take off and land it; it “hovers” (sort of); and you’ll be flying around with gay abandon in minutes. The only caveat is that you need a bit more space to fly it in than your average quadcopter, simply because it can go so fast, and it can’t land on a sixpence like quadcopters can.
Take-off … simply … fling the thing into the air. As long as you’re gentle, it then takes to the air, rising steeply, and completely automatically, proceeding to fly in autopilot mode at an altitude of 50m in lazy, 60m circles at a speed of 24mph. You don’t need to do anything at this point; in fact, you can simply leave it to circle if you want and make a cup of tea. It will continue to circle in “orbital standby mode” indefinitely until you take control and start to steer.
[I]t’s easier to get to grips with than a quadcopter in my book, although I wouldn’t want to fly one anywhere other than a wide, open expanse of country. …
Landing is the most tricky thing to pull off, but it’s still very difficult to stack it in spectacular fashion. The idea is to kill the altitude until you can fly no lower – ideally while flying it at yourself – then, when it’s 50m or so away, hit the landing button. The Disco will then cut the power, reverse its propeller briefly to scrub off speed and glide gently to earth.
A bit over US$ 1,500.