Remembering My Introduction to the World of Personal Drones
I love all things drone-related. There is something to be said for being able to fly a person consumer drone at tremendous heights and capture the world either by video or photographs at an angle one would typically not be able to see. One of my first ventures into drone flight was a model made by Parrot.
Parrot was a French-based company specializing in drones for first-time flyers and general consumers. I remember getting their AR DRONE 2.0 and being over the moon. This unit had a bottom-facing still camera, so you could take overhead pictures looking downward. Let me tell you; the quality was less than stellar. The forward-facing camera came in at 720p, which was adequate. There was no included gimbal, so stabilization was not something you could control. You would most likely fly this drone on a less windy day.
It was a pretty easy unit to fly. The iPhone application was pretty intuitive and was packed with features.
I would have liked obstacle avoidance, given I seemed always to find a low-hanging tree branch or nearby telephone pole. I lost one such unit on a semi-windy day as I flew too close to a tall telephone pole. The unit clipped the pole and fell 50 feet. Needless to say, I had to replace this unit not soon thereafter.
What I remember best about this little drone was how miserable the flight time was. At best, you would get 8 to 10 minutes per charge. I remember buying several batteries to be able to fly it a little bit longer.
The Parrot had one particular trick it could perform ( a barrel roll), which was pretty cool. It had to be a full battery to achieve this, and once you completed the trick, the battery was nearly depleted. I didn’t perform this trick very often. The range on this unit wasn’t very good at around 160 feet. At the time, it seemed adequate, but drones have come so far since then.
So what of the parent company, Parrot? Competition became fierce, and Parrot has since yielded the consumer market to manufacturers like DJI. I have since graduated to a more feature-rich DJI model I will detail in a future article. The Parrot model will always hold a special place in my heart!