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  • Joel Hans

A Fixed-Wing Drone for First-Person Flights and More

Image: Parrot

Want a drone that makes take-off as easy as throwing a paper airplane? The $1,299 Parrot Disco might be just the right device for you—a beginner-friendly package that utilizes a fixed-wing configuration over the more standard quadcopter-style drone.

The Disco might not be ideal for professional use, but the package does offer some interesting features that are still rare in today’s fast-paced market. One such innovation is the company’s Cockpitglasses, a first-person view (FPV) headset that allows pilots to see from the drone’s perspective. An interface that includes radar and telemetric data will help pilots keep the Disco airborne, in this mode—important since they lose traditional visual cues in favor of the first-person ones. This could be a feature that separates the Disco from its many competitors, especially among the typical consumer, who might just be looking to experience the world from a bird’s-eye view for a little while.

Professionals might find the Disco’s offerings lackluster, although it’s not really meant for sophisticated projects like aerial cinematography. Some unique features do make it an interesting choice, however, for certain projects. Once launched, the Disco will automatically ascend to 164 feet (50 meters) and then circle above the pilot’s head while awaiting its next instructions—potentially convenient for a professional who needs to manage multiple devices or processes simultaneously.

On top of that, the Disco is capable of flying at up to 50mph, and it’ll last about 45 minutes in the air. Fully automated landing will help ease the minds of consumers and professionals alike, as it makes the whole flying process that much easier—even in winds up to 24mph.

The Disco’s 1.6-pound construction is made out of expanded polypropylene and reinforced by carbon tubes, which should keep it safe in case something goes wrong—an outcome the company is hoping to mitigate with its Control Hub & Universal Computer Kit, an autopilot-like service that uses the onboard sensors to make flight easier. The onboard accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and altimeter all work in conjunction with data from the high-definition camera to make aerial movements smooth and within safe limits.

In a press release, the company writes: “Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming a pilot? Sitting in the cockpit, stepping on the gas, taking-off and seeing the landscape pass right before their eyes?” While this does seem like a logical use for the Disco, we at Drone 55 are more interested in seeing what other innovations and implementations operators come up with—could it be used for mapping? Only time and creativity will tell.

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