Some of the first UAVs were repurposed military aircraft intended to be crashed into targets of interest. As such they were huge, like the B-24 Liberator employed to attack Heligoland during World War II, designated as BQ-8. For those interested in less invasive drone activites, Estes offers a Micro Air Vehicle better suited for assaulting Lego Land: the Proto X Nano-quadcopter. The polar opposite of the BQ-8, the Proto X is so small it could be launched from the end of the joystick of its drone-ish antecedent.
Buzzing in like a propeller borne beetle, the Proto X rivals Axis’s miniscule Aerius for the title of tiniest quadling. Less clunky looking than the Aerius, Proto X is compact and trim, with a little controller to guide its big movements. The main characteristic that stands it apart from a large insect – beyond human control and a five-minute flight duration – are its rotor- mounted LEDs and front-end headlights, which come optional on June bugs. As its lack of mass looms large, optimal use demands a contained environment. A box fan will send this one off and bouncing.
Proto X comes ready-to-fly – well, it does want 2 AAA batteries for the transmitter – and after its necessary charging, will fairly leap into action. The controller is a trifle tricky for adult human sized hands, but with focus and practice can be mastered or at least effectively operated. Its function is straightforward: left stick, altitude and rotation; right stick, direction with a couple of trim adjustment buttons. Owing to the size of the controller, it is difficult to operate both sticks and the trim buttons while aloft, necessitating landings to make corrections. Beyond that and its dimensional limitations, Proto X is a tough and resilient little flier.
I really can't stress enough how incredibly tiny this quadcopter is . . . it isn't much bigger than some insects you might find in your backyard.
The digital trims on the transmitter while working were not as precise as those on my other RTF quadcopter transmitters but otherwise the control of the Proto X was good.
It was very simple and quick to set up, merely charging with a USB cable. Once charged, it was all about learning how to control this wee quadcopter.
Kids will go crazy for this and even adults will find this fun! It's really easy to fly, it handles very well and is very quick to level out and hover.
Every time I turn it on it needs to be calibrated so it doesn't keep swaying.
It doesn't have a camera, it can't perform any fancy tricks, and it's not really designed to be reprogrammed or customized.