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MultiRotor Pilot Mag

SNEAK PEEK: Traxxas Aton – A Closer Look At The Sport Utility Drone

We reviewed the Traxxas Aton back when it first came out, but more than a year later we’ve come back around to take a closer look at this multi-faceted machine. First off, if you are already familiar with the name Traxxas, you know that the manufacturer is well-known for producing awesome car, truck and boat models for the backyard basher and weekend RC warrior. Their name is synonymous with durability and that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Traxxas. They arguably revived RC racing, single-handedly with the release of the 2wd Slash. The gave nitro lovers what they had been dreaming off for years with the first mass-produced, fully capable and reliable nitro truck with not only a reversing transmission in the T-Maxx, but a 2-speed one at that! Yeah, they’ve also got their mitts into all sorts of full scale racing, from TORC and Lucas Oil offroad trucks to the NHRA circuit, but we’re talkin’ drones here, right? Right.

On the back of the mast are four LED’s. One each for Power, GPS, Home Location and Info. Power the Aton up, wait until they’re all green and you’re good to go, without so much as a jitter for a GPS calibration dance!

Enter the Aton. Traxxas had made a few brief forays into the rotary winged arena, but mainly in the small, toyish realm. With the Aton, fully equipped with a GPS enabled flight controller and a wide flight envelope, Traxxas now had a viable contender to compete with the larger, drone-only manufacturers … but which one(s)? Well, in it’s simplest form, all of them. Once again, if you’re familiar with the Traxxas Slash 4×4, you’ll know what we’re talking about when we say the Aton is the perfect Sport Utility Drone for any pilot, of nearly any skill level and in nearly any facet of the drone world. The Slash 4×4 is perfectly at home, in the backyard tearing up sod, but it can also be track prepped for club racing duties. Similarly, the Atone can be fitted with a gimbal and HD camera for amazing aerial media capturing, or it can be made FPV ready and opened up in Expert mode for speeds eclipsing the 60 mph mark while wearing the goggles. The Aton is a true “bash” approved model with its durable modular design and parts/product support that is second to none.

The Aton comes from the factory decked out in red, but there are a bunch of other colors for canopies, blades and LED lens covers to choose from as optionals.

Before we get much further into it at this point, let’s just say we ditched the gimbal and camera in favor of a 3.3GHz FPV system courtesy of Electrify RC and Hobby Wireless to stretch the legs of this quad to see what it could do. Be sure to check back on Wednesday night for our full rundown, including video, on what makes the Aton such a versatile drone for just about any pilot.

LINKS

TRAXXAS

HOBBY WIRELESS

ELECTRIFY RC 

The post SNEAK PEEK: Traxxas Aton – A Closer Look At The Sport Utility Drone appeared first on The Drones Mag.

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Do You Even Whoop, Bro?

Well, do ya? It’s okay if you do. I mean, all of us (even the not cool kids) are doing it, so you should be too. Whether it’s because you’re trapped indoors all day due to work or family, the weather is just plain nasty during month long spans or you’re quite fond of flying in tight spaces, every pilot needs a Tiny Whoop. If you’re unsure of what to get or where to source your parts, just ask a flying buddy or two, chances are, they have a Whoop and can help steer you in the right direction.

If you’ve got no one to ask, it’s still cool, no worries. Yes, there are a vast number of mods you can perform, even greater numbers of parts you can buy (everything from flight controllers to motors to batteries to cameras to frame stiffeners to yatta, yatta) and within all that there are many choices left up to the end user. Our advice is to start slowly and figure out what you like and don’t like and go from there. A prime example of a “not too far from stock” machine is mine.

Here’s the lowdown of what I’ve got going on here:

  • Inductrix Gen1 frame and board
  • Micro Motor Warehouse Fast Motors
  • Tinywhoop.com 205mAh HV PowerWhoop LiPo
  • Tinewhoop.com PowerWhoop connector
  • 3D printed mount from Thingiverse
  • Spektrum Gen1 25mW AIO
  • Spektrum DX6

Yes, I’m aware of the BeeCore, BeeBrain and other various flight controllers out there that allow for a full PID tuning via software GUI’s. However, I don’t need to be doing flips and rolls while chasing my dogs (or vice versa) and to be completely honest, the stock board with some juiced up motors and batteries is spot-on, for me. I get a solid 2:30-3 minutes of goofing around with the 205 HV’s and there is a marked improvement in vertical performance as well as bail out power. The moral to the story is, buy what suits you best and buy from a reputable source. As for why I didn’t even touch on the subject of 2 versus 3 versus 4-blade props; well that’s a whole other ball o’ wax and for that, I’ll be spinning a whole separate weave. Until then, whoop on and keep it safe!

LINKS

HORIZON HOBBY

TINY WHOOP STORE

MICRO MOTOR WAREHOUSE

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VIDEO: Blade FPV Quad Racer Tool Kit

Opinion:

We recently got our hands on the new Quad Racer Tool kit from Blade and Horizon Hobby and at first, we thought, “what could possibly be in this kit that we don’t already have several of in the disaster that is the Drones Mag workshop?” Well, true to form, we were terribly wrong for prejudging and we’ll let you know exactly why we love this tool set and why two simple items within it make it well worth the price.

The hex drivers look great and work extremely well, even with sweaty palms.

First off, the entire kit is protected within a nylon pouch with a solid zipper closure. Each tool is secured to the inner walls so you can rest assured that your tips and handles won’t get all beat up in your favorite FPV backpack. The standard issue stuff is all there, including the indispensables, but they are of top quality and a pleasure to behold. You’ve got the 8mm and 5.5 mm nut drivers for prop and frame nuts, in addition to 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5mm hex drivers with steel tips. Each driver has a knurled grip that’s anodized in that awesome bright Blade green. The tips are all replaceable as well, so even if you toss one off and bust a tip, you can grab a new one up from Horizon. There’s also a cool little multi-wrench that has nut drivers for 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 8 and 10mm that you can easily keep stashed in your pocket while at the flight line for last minute double-checks on those props.

The motor wrench is worth its weight in gold!

The tool coolest and most valuable inclusions in the kit, in our opinion anyway, are the motor wrench and prop balancer. We tend to favor the wrench a bit more as it saves us from so many bloody knuckles and generally makes life easier. The motor wrench is basically a set of curved pliers with standoffs on the inner grips that are covered in heavy duty rubber. That means you can grip your motors plenty tight for even stubborn prop nuts and not even make a scratch on the can. They’ve also got quite a range of motion so they’ll likely work on many machines aside from FPV rigs. The prop balancer is a nifty little system that snaps together in seconds, yet is fully adjustable. The base has a leveling screw at each corner and there is also a bubble level to check your stance. The prop shaft has both regular and reverse threads, so you can balance each as they would be mount on the model. The entire balancer (minus the shaft) fits within a plastic pouch inside the zippered case.

The rubber coated standoffs securely hold just about any size can securely for prop removal or installation without marring or damaging the can.

Pros

  • Great tools with a couple most welcome features
  • Awesome looking green anodized tools
  • Heavy duty case included
  • Prop balancer for improved performance

Cons:

  • Hefty price tag (though the motor wrench is almost worth the price on its own)
This little multi wrench is the perfect tool to have on you at all times while out flying.

Conclusion

There you have it folks; another FPV tool kit. HOWEVER, this tool kit has two unique items in the motor wrench and balancer that not only make working on your models easier, but also make them perform better at the field (In case we didn’t say it enough, balance your props!!!). The zippered case keeps everything snug and safe and the tools themselves look almost as good as they perform.

8mm and 5.5mm nut drivers with knurled grips for non-slip prop and frame repairs.

 

Keep your props balanced with this beauty for optimal flight and motor longevity.

LINKS

HORIZON HOBBY

BLADE

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DJI Unveils New Goggles At NAB 2017 With Flight By Head Tracking

Up until recently, the monster manufacturer of drones hadn’t really done much on their own in the way of goggles or headsets, having relied on Zeiss or other such optics companies to provide their wares for a combo. We got to check out the first incarnation of an actual DJI branded headset last year when the Mavic was released, but this new set of goggles is leaps and bounds beyond that initial foray into FPV for themselves. We’re sure there will be plenty more cool gadgets and machines going viral from the NAB 2017 show, but this one really caught our eye and the eyes of many more for one single reason … flight capable entirely by head tracking!

 

We’re sure you’ve heard that word before whereas FPV is concerned, but that was always a servo actuated 2-3 axis setup that was large and bulky. Such designs were meant to only give the pilot (or viewer) the ability to pan, tilt or roll their head to point the camera in whatever direction they looked, but the model said head tracker was mounted to still relied on two thumbs on the sticks for flight input. Head tracker systems of this variety were also often difficult to setup, having to mount an accelerometer unit to the headset, then get everything to jive, then make sure your servos were all setup properly and then you might get to enjoy it. Not so with these beauties from DJI. It’s ready to pair to your DJI drone and use right out of the box.

 


Hot Points

  • Super low 110ms latency
  • 360 degree antenna included
  • Dual 1920-1080 2K screens inside
  • 6 hours of run time on a charge
  • Head Tracking Flight … Duh!!

So basically once you’ve got your drone up and where you want it, engage one of several flight modes (Fixed-Wing, Terrain Follw, Active-Track and TapFly) in Head Tracker mode and let your neck do the flying. Look left and the drone flies left. Look right and the drones flies to the right. Not only that, but you can also command the camera in addition to the drone … at the same time. There is a touch pad on the right side of the Goggles that you use to navigate through the menu and confirm your selection. With a bit hefty of a street price (as of now), you really have to examine all the cool features you’re getting with theses goggles and exactly who you’re getting it from. Who would have ever thought we could launch our machines, fly a mission simply by head movement, still have complete control of camera functions and return to base; all with out taking the goggles off!?

Well, I guess it’s safe to say that the innovative and forward thinking folks at DJI have knocked it out of the park once again. These new Goggles pack some amazing features into a small and easy to use package that will not only simplify drone flight and capturing of aerial medial; it will revolutionize it.

Check em out HERE.

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Colorado To Host A Spectacular Drone Dance Show In June 2017

With the recent global increase in the use of drones as a means of not only photography, delivery, or search and rescue, a group of passionate drone pilots in Colorado have unveiled their plans to organize a spectacular drone dance show at the Garden of the Gods Collection country club and luxury golf resort in Colorado Springs. The show, which will take place in June of 2017, will provide outstanding and magnificent entertainment – exclusive for country club members, local/national news and the media – and was established with the primary goal of creating awareness, and bringing to the attention of Coloradans the emerging use of drones for the purpose of entertainment. As an added plus, the show is creating a way to raise funds to support the Garden of the Gods Foundation, which is a benevolent project founded to help wildlife preservation in Colorado.

The Garden of the Gods Collection private country club and luxury golf resort is a perfect choice for this outstanding visual art show. Perched high atop the plateau, it offers a magnificent view of the snow-capped peaks and the natural red rock formations of the Garden of the Gods national landmark, which is, of course, a stunning backdrop for this sure-to-be-amazing drone display. In this high-energy and explosive drone dance show, the pilots will be utilizing 15-20 drones in swarming formations at the center stage to bring a beautiful collaboration of music, acrobatics, special effects and around 15,000 LED lights attached to the drones to create a spectacular visual feast. The music will be provided by the Colorado Springs Suzuki Violin Children’s group led by Vanessa White, a talented and stunning violin teacher in Colorado. During the drone dance, there will also be a 25-foot remote-controlled hot air balloon with the face of a giant panda hovering above!

Some of the talented pilots include Chip LeMaster, Josh Cuchiara, Ron Knox, Justin Heinlen, Csilla Brimer, Byron Sosa & Sharon Baca Shelton. A word from Csilla, the founder of the drone dance show:

“Our vision about this form of green entertainment is like a giant magnet, pulling us towards the future. It’s about taking inspiration from the world and people around you and creating an exhilarating and impressive form of entertainment for everyone. With the drone dance just now beginning to bubble up as a means of entertainment, we saw an opportunity and creative means of uniting as local drone pilots to showcase how drone technology can be used as a unifying force and to impact culture, thereby giving way to new ideas; proving that innovation is sensational and nothing is impossible!”

For more info about the show, click HERE.

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