Futura was able to take to the air with the surprising DJI FPV. This racy aircraft mixes the world of racing drones and that of recreational devices gifted for the image. Feedback on an extraordinary flight experience.
A few weeks ago, Futura announced the release of DJI FPV. This drone is one of a kind. It looks like a racing drone and is flown as such using an FPV headset, but its playground is not necessarily that of arenas from speed races and obstacle for experienced remote pilot. Rather, it is for beginners who are looking to get their fill eyes, without risking a crash or loss of control. And on this point, we can say that the DJI drone fulfills its mission.
With its stubby yet almost aggressive look, the DJI FPV seems eager to gain height. Its three-bladed propellers do not deploy, as on the Mavic range, but attach to the rotors. The manufacturer provided a replacement kit and experience shows that this is very necessary. As soon as we turn on the drone, the atmosphere is planted, at the end of theautotest, an aggressive roar and light signature are there to show that theaircraft does not have at all the same character as the others.
Fly inside the drone
It’s time to get on board wearing the FPV mask. Get on board, because there is something strange about not seeing the device. After having properly memorized the functions of the remote control buttons, you must cross the controls downwards to start the engines. From the outset, the drone that we no longer see, is frankly noticed with the sound level of its roar.
There is something confusing about FPV piloting for a remote pilot professional like the author of this article. And for good reason, during flight, the remote pilot is used to not taking his eyes off the aircraft in its movements. But for a beginner, learning becomes much more natural. No risk of making a mistake by reversing the commands since, unlike the others drones, he steers himself by always going forward. Moreover, maneuvering it sideways or backwards remains perilous since the sensors obstacles are only on the front and bottom of the drone. It is a matter of simply heading towards where door the look. From this moment and after a few flights of initiations, we find ourselves sneaking at high speed between obstacles, even the narrowest ones, such as door frames.
The design helmet, quite successful, gives a futuristic look with its four small antennas. It is light enough and comfortable enough to be worn for the duration of a flight. A little advice: to fly FPV, it is better to be seated. At the first sharp turn, the body will follow what the pilot sees and, if the drone is holding theair, it is the remote pilot who risks colliding with the floor of cows. The headphones are powered by a connected external battery via a cable and whose autonomy we evaluated at nearly two hours. Under the helmet, two small adjustments make it possible to adjust the distance between the screens and the eyes of the wearer of the mask. On the left part of the helmet, two buttons are present but we did not find the use of them. On the vision side, the information is indicated on the lower part of the helmet. At the bottom left, the altitude, the speed in m / s and the distance are displayed. On the right, there is information related to the autonomy of the drone, the helmet, the level of reception and the number of satellites detected. On the right side is the icon related to shots.
On the top right of the helmet, you have to get used to handling a clickable mini-joystick that allows you to navigate the adjustment menus. Nearby is another button to go back or exit a menu and, finally, a last button is used to start recording the scene taken by the drone directly on a caste micro SD inserted in headset. Additional security that allows images to be preserved, even if the drone is lost.
Images in the eyes
Clearly, the shooting is not the main quality of this drone. We let ourselves get carried away by the fun side of speed in three dimensions. The sensor that moves from bottom to top is capable of filming in 4K and up to 60 frames per second. This 4K is also essential, because the propellers are visible on the edges of the image and if you want to obtain beautiful sequences, it is necessary to crop them. This is all the more true as the contours of the image are a little distorted and less clear. That said, a distortion correction option allows both propellers and these defects to disappear.
On the remote control, to control the camera, you can use quick switches allowing it to be tilted up or down or horizontally. It is also possible to use the thumbwheel on the front left to smoothly reorient the viewing angle up or down. The settings for the image are rudimentary, but that’s not the main advantage of this drone.
A remote control that you can’t see
A radio control without support for Tablet or smartphone, this is confusing when you are used to piloting drones. All the settings are therefore via the helmet and as much to say that it is not obvious, even if, to make its first flights, the drone can be used as is. All the buttons of the remote control fall under the fingers and that is better since one is wearing the helmet. The management of drone is very simple even for a beginner. Better to practice using the flight mode Normal that is operated from a selector on the front of the remote control. This mode makes it possible to benefit from the drone’s anti-collision system, namely its proximity sensors located at the front and under it. Visual alerts are displayed in the helmet near obstacles. This assistance is deactivated as soon as we switch to the very nervous mode. Sport. For fear of not being able to master the “beast” enough, we did not venture long into the mode. Manuel which disengages the assistance and requires a small modification to be made under the remote control. The drone can then perform acrobatics, which we avoided doing for fear of breaking it.
The manufacturer also provides as an option and at a price of 149 euros a joystick that reminds the controls of the Wii. Its use is intuitive, even if it requires time to adapt and learn, if only to take off and land the drone.
As for autonomy, the nervousness and speed of the drone will not allow it to fly for long. But it must be said that a flight session is tough enough to take a break while recharging the heavy battery whose hull also serves as rear skids for the drone. Difficult to fly for more than 15 minutes and watch out for the automatic return home mode when the battery drops below its critical threshold. Not having correctly memorized the key to press on the radio control, we were unable to deactivate it and the aircraft found its base by stroking the branches of a tree near. Better to have a good time watching the video tutorials that DJI offers to learn more about the drone, rather than being surprised in mid-flight.
And at the regulatory level, there is theory and practice. In reality, it is not possible to take advantage of the drone to the maximum of its possibilities without flogging the regulations. First, an observer must be present and he must not take his eyes off the drone. The concern is that, when one slips between trees, the drone is fatally lost from sight by the observer. Unless you have a completely unobstructed surface outside public space, it is almost impossible to use it without breaking the law.
An expensive toy, but one that we never tire of
The DJI FPV is sold in version bundle at a price of 1,349 euros. The pack includes the drone with its FPV helmet and battery, a battery for the drone, the radio control and two propeller kits. It is possible to replace its transparent shell, by a shell of color flashy green. You have to add 149 euros to have the controller of movement DJI, in other words, the famous joystick. A Fly More DJI FPV kit with two batteries and a charging station is available at 279 euros. It is also possible to opt for insurance DJI Care Refresh which allows the drone to be replaced in the event of a destructive crash. This option costs 169 euros.
The DJI FPV won us over. It is a sacred “toy”, very evolved, which we never tire of. You can’t really say that it belongs to the same family as the usual drones. It has the advantage of making drone piloting accessible to practically any beginner and it will appeal to experienced remote pilots. Side images, if the shots are not of the level of a professional drone or a DJI Air 2S, they are so impressive that it erases any imperfection. For its price of nearly 1,349 euros, the DJI FPV is certainly expensive, but it is true that it does not stay stored for long in its box.
- Easy piloting for beginners
- The originality of the concept
We don’t like
- Average video quality
- The fragility of the controllers
- Limited autonomy
DJI FPV Features
- Max altitude: 6,000 m (limited to 120 meters by regulations)
- Maximum speed: 140 km / h in Sport mode
- Radio control: range 10 km
- Sensor: 12 megapixels – 4K 60 fps 150 ° viewing angle
- Dimensions (LxlxH) : 178 x 232 x 127 mm
- Weight: 795 g
- Autonomy: announced, 20 min; observed, 15 min
- Price: 1,349 euros
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