There are always pros and cons between a quadcopter and a wing. The famous company, Parrot, known for the AR Parrot 2.0 has recently announced a new product, but this time, this it’s a fixed wing! The Parrot Disco is a fixed wing, with built in gyro, magnetometer, compass, barometer, GPS, ground sensor, and an airspeed sensor. In the front, its has a 14 Megapixel 1080p camera live streaming over Wifi like all Parrot products.
With a top speed of 50 mph. To top it all off, the wing only weighs only 700 grams. This is pretty exciting news for the RC fixed wing hobby.
Many simple fixed wings are only built with a few servos, receiver, and battery. As for the Disco, it is impressively jammed with more sensors than a Phantom 3! I truly believe that the Parrot Disco will be the next DJI Phantom for fixed wing. It has integrated simplicity to their design like hand toss to get the Disco flying in the air, and is built to be the easiest wing to fly. Flying a wing with only a receiver and servo is pretty tough.
Parrot looked at an amateur wing pilot and used technology to resolve issues that the new pilot would face like, launching, landing, orientation, and speed. This will help many new pilots to become more comfortable with flying. With all this fancy technology working hard in the background, you can be relaxed and become a hawk in the sky.
Things I want in the Parrot Disco:
I want to see is automatic collision detection on the Disco. Surely, the consumer would know to fly a fixed wing in a big open area to prevent any collisions with trees but currently the software will not detect a collision.
Also, I would think people would want to see better landing system. It’s cool to have the Disco circle you and then land, but in their promotion video, it seems like the landing was pretty rough; nose first into the grass. Now imagine doing that repeatedly over and over again. The lens for the camera and the frame will eventually wear out and need replacement.
I wonder if the detachable wings would ever come apart in mid-air at high speed as the product says it simply attaches the wings onto two supporting arms.
I believe a good price for Disco will be vital for its success. It needs to be around 300-400USD.
The drawbacks of getting a wing are mobility, size, and usage are important factors for the consumer to think about. The location where you can fly is the biggest challenge compared to a quadcopter. This is why if it is more than 500USD, many people would want to consider buying a quadcopter instead. Unless you have speed as your number one priority, the Disco is not the way to go.