Crowdfunded, Crowdsourced and Pre-order Quadcopters and Drones Update


Numerous drone startups have funded their development from popular Crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Others use a combination of Press Releases, Social Media and Marketing to obtain preorders for their machines. This article will take a look at many of the most popular such ventures from the past and present.

If you want to skip the details and read the Summary – Click Here!

Running the Gamut – Dreamers, Innovators, DIY’ers and Marketers

Many of the early Crowdsourced drones were simple designs a step up from many of the toy-grade models which most quadcopter pilots started with. Others were more interesting, such as the B Flying Car, which raised about $200,000 (US) in 2013.

Others raised much more – including some which were well over a million dollars. These include Airdog, PlexiDrone, Zano (3.4 Million!). MicroDrone and Hexo+.

The developers of these range from one-person firms (B Flying Car) to larger teams of aerospace, electronic and manufacturing experts.

First Rule of Crowdsourcing and Preordering

Before we delve into the results of some of these popular campaigns, it’s worth reminding the public that there are NO guarantees when it comes to these types of projects. When you fund a crowdsourcing program you are a believer with a certain amount of faith in the project. The project may end up not being delivered at all – or being delivered in a form which doesn’t meet the claims. It may be years late and not backed by spare parts and/or service. The original maker may stop answering your queries and/or fade into oblivion.
In other words, it’s a gamble. You should never invest any money in these projects that you cannot afford to lose. You are not buying a quadcopter/drone but investing in a dream and project. As with most investments a loss of capital ($$) is possible. On the positive end you get to feel as if you are part of a larger project and may obtain the product at a lower price than it will eventually sell for.

Remember – as regards the crowdsourced models you are a Backer not a Purchaser.

[Read more…]

The Eachine Racer 250 – A Quality Entry Level Racing Drone for Just $145


Last month I did a review on the Walkera Runner 250.  This was a highly anticipated quadcopter that was supposed to do for quadcopter racing what the DJI Phantom did for aerial video.  Unfortunately Walkera dropped the ball, and sadly the Runner just did not live up to the hype.  One thing it did do however is help shine a light on this fast rising segment of the drone universe.  Drone racing is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds.  The Walkera Runner was supposed to be the quad that brought drone racing to the masses, but by dropping the ball they have left the door wide open for somebody else to pick up that ball and run with it.  Enter the Eachine Racer 250.

[Read more…]

DJI Phantom 3 how to avoid Flyaways and Crashes

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.28.52 AM

The new DJI Phantom 3 has instantly become the best-selling quadcopter (drone) in history. However, with tens of thousands of new pilots entering the hobby each month, the inevitable crashes and losses are likely to happen. The good news is that the Phantom 3 is, statistically speaking, less likely to misbehave or crash due to EITHER pilot error or hardware/software malfunction. Still, statistics don’t mean anything to the pilot who loses their bird prematurely. Read on for the the hints and tips which pertain to this exciting new flying camera.
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DJI Phantom 3 Standard discount to $699


DJI have today discounted the Phantom 3 Standard model to $699 – a price which is about 1/2 the price of what a similar model (with fewer features) would have sold for last year.

This is truly the best price ever for a Flying Camera of this type. If you are/were on the fence due to budget constraints this may be a good time to consider a purchase.

The basic model for $699 is ready to fly however most hobbyists will pick up at least one extra battery – making the total price about $850.

DJI has a package setup with one extra battery and a backpack (needed if you want to travel, hike, etc. with your Phantom) for $959.

Here are links to these deals at the DJI Store (ships worldwide).
DJI Phantom 3 Standard with single battery – $699
DJI Phantom 3 Standard with two batteries and hardshell backpack – $959

Great Deals for Sure!

Great Deals for Sure!

If you want to buy it at Amazon and get it in a day or two – check out the link below! They also give you the choice of a 2nd battery for $100 extra (usually 150)

Walkera Runner 250 Review Part 2- Flight Testing and Conclusion

I’m going to end the suspense right off.  The Runner 250 is much more impressive sitting in the box than it is in the air.  Walkera really dropped the ball on this one because with their deep pockets and marketing muscle this could and should have been the DJI Phantom of racing quads.  I REALLY wanted to like this quad, because I think this is exactly what the mini-quad racing segment of this hobby needs to take off the way AV quads have – an easy to set up, ready to fly quad that comes with everything you need in the box to go out and start flying and having fun.  And the Walkera Runner DOES do that.  Unfortunately what it fails to do is actually fly well, and when you get right down to the bottom line that’s what matters the most.

[Read more…]

X9 (Eachine CG023) Blade Nano QX clone review


The Blade Nano QX has always been one of the suggested “toy grade” quadcopters for those who want to fly in smaller spaces and get in some training on the sticks. Earlier in the year we did our own first look and review on the original model Blade nano qx.

A number of clones have hit the market in recent months – promising many of the same features at 25% of the price of the brand name model. This review will look at the Eachine CG023 Nana QX clone. The same machine appears to be sold under various brand names including BAYANGTOYS X9, which appears similar but comes with a different (more compact) Transmitter.

Here is the banggood USA store (quick shipping!) for the model we tested.
Make certain you order “mode 2″ which means the TX is setup correctly with the left throttle.
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The Drone Report 2016

Rough Idea of Audience for Web site

In 2012 we wrote an introductory article called Rise of the Drones which predicted the consumer drone industry would grow very quickly starting in 2013. This turned out to be the case and drones have captured the public attention (in both positive and negative ways) and have evolved from a DIY pursuit to one which is just now entering the mass consumer market. In this article we will look at the current state of the industry – how it got here and where we predict it is going. At the end of the article we will present an Executive Summary – a quick read for those who have less need for all the details!

Note: As is our forte, we focus on drones for the consumer and hobbyist – in general those under $2,500 at retail.

A Short Rehash of Consumer Drone History

The first consumer quadcopters appeared in approx. 2009-2010 with the introduction of the AR Drone from Parrot as well as some toy and hobby grade models from various Chinese manufacturers. Very few of these machines were reliable or easy to use – however those who persisted in the hobby were able to take flight and get some idea of what the future might hold. Models such as Hubsan X4 and Syma X1 were introduced in 2012 and provided budding pilots with inexpensive and ready-to-fly machines ($40-$60) to hone their skills.

At the end of 2012 DJI Introduced the Phantom 1 Ready-to-Fly quadcopter which had advanced features such as GPS, larger payload (GoPro holder) and long range. This machine turned out to be quite reliable and capable and kickstarted the consumer camera drone revolution.

2013-2015 saw the introduction and/or announcement of many additional machines…but many manufacturers misjudged the amount of engineering and design time needed to perfect these products. Many models were as much as year late (from original announcement) and turned out to be unreliable. Various kickstarter and other crowdsourced models raised millions of dollars – most have failed to deliver.
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Walkera Runner 250 Review Part I – First Impressions

Walkera Runner 250

Camera drones are a dime a dozen these days. DJI, Blade, Walkera, Cheerson, everybody has an entry in this playing field. There is a new segment of this hobby that’s recently been getting a lot of attention that requires a completely different kind of drone however, and that is the 250 class FPV (First Person View) racing drone. Until recently FPV racing was strictly the domain of the hardcore hobbiest. If you wanted to play on this field, you had to roll up your sleeves and build your own drone, tune it yourself, acquire your own FPV gear and equip it yourself. Needless to say this is all pretty daunting for the uninitiated, but there are a couple of new players in the game that are opening up the FPV racing arena to more casual users. The Walkera Runner 250, the Immersion Vortex, and the Storm Racing Drone are 3 popular entries that have opened up the doors to racers who don’t want to build from scratch. This is a first look at one of them, the Walkera Runner 250.

This review will be an overview of what your options are and what you get in the box. Part 2 will be a more comprehensive review of performance, ease of use, and how suitable it is for the market it’s being targeted at: Drone flyers who want to get into FPV racing without having to build from scratch. [Read more…]

3DR Solo is a NoGo for now

Possible Reasons for Solo poor GPS results?
3DR Solo and Remote

3DR Solo and Remote

3DRobotics Solo is a NoGo – 3DR Solo First Look

At we follow the world of consumer UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles) very closely. In fact, we spend many hours each day flying, reading, emailing and otherwise soaking up and disseminating knowledge on this fast growing pursuit.

When 3DRobotics announced their new Solo quadcopter in April 2015, it set the drone world abuzz. The company claimed this model was FAR superior to any other camera/gimbal drone on the market.
The claims include these:
1. The world’s first smart drone
2. Can do anything any other drone does and more
3. Every other drone will be looked at as a toy by the end of the year.
4. Solo does 175 things better than other drones (presumably DJI, the market leader).
5. 3DR (maker of solo) will control the market instead of the current leader (DJI).
6. Cinema quality camera moves made easy – out of the box anyone can do it.

With claims like these – and many more, expectations were high for a truly groundbreaking product. The drone world awaited the launch of Solo – which was scheduled to be in stores in time for delivery to Dad by Father’s Day, 2015.

Then it happened… [Read more…]

DJI Announces Phantom 3 Standard at $799 complete

Phantom 3 Standard - DJI

A new low! Or, we could say, a new low price…

DJI has announced a new entry model of the Phantom 3 – at the price of $799 complete with camera, gimbal and battery. This is an unheard-of price for a complete RTF camera unit and should allow many more consumers to buy into this fascinating hobby.

What does it have – and what doesn’t it have?

Things are moving so quickly in this hobby that it’s tough to keep up! With the introduction of the P3 Standard, DJI now have 3 models in the Phantom 3 line. The differences are basically as listed below:

P3 Pro – $1259 – 4K Video, Dual GPS, Lightbridge digital video feed to your device, VPS.
P3 Advanced – $999 – HD video, Dual GPS, Lightbridge digital video feed to your device, VPS.
P3 Standard – $799 – HD video, Single band GPS, wifi video feed to your device.

See full story —- [Read more…]