Parrot looks to be taking a new tack in its competition with DJI by packaging their Disco as a drone for all users: beginners, enthusiast, and commercial users. Parrot has crafted the offering for both beginner and expert model aircraft enthusiasts that enables them to connect their own RC transmitter (SBus, Sumd or CPPM protocols) to the Parrot Disco and take control of the fixed-wing drone in RC.
The Disco has two piloting modes that enable pilots to switch from one mode to another at any time while flying:
Assisted Mode is for beginners and hobbyists who want to get into piloting a fixed-wing drone. This is an interesting approach. The vast majority of newbie drones are quadcopters. With this mode, the pilot can take advantage of the computing power and autopilot offered by Parrot C.H.U.C.K. (Control Hub & Universal Computer for Kit) which secures each phase of the flight, from take-off to landing.
Parrot C.H.U.C.K. collects and analyses data from numerous sensors – Pitot Tube, inertial navigation system, GNSS module – and adapts the parameters of the flight to prevent stalling when the pilot makes a critical manoeuver.
Using the FreeFlight Pro app for smartphones and tablets on iOS/Android, the pilot accesses calibration tool for their radio controller and can customize each button and joystick.
They can also adjust the settings of the Parrot Disco and define, for example, a flying area (maximum altitude, minimum altitude and distance) and so activate a geofence.
For optimum safety, a “Return Home” feature makes it possible for Parrot Disco to automatically return above its take-off position.
Manual mode is for model aircraft experts. When selecting Manual Mode, the Parrot C.H.U.C.K. autopilot of Parrot Disco is deactivated.
The aircraft’s stability, the speed optimization, and the flight altitude are fully controlled by the pilot from their radio controller which transmits the commands to the Parrot Disco servomotors.
The pilot does not benefit from any flight assistance and, depending on their skills, they can perform stunts or aerial acrobatics. The pilot will be able to switch to the assisted piloted mode at any time.
The frontal full HD 14MPx camera of Parrot Disco makes it possible to record each flight. Images are automatically stored on the fixed-wing 32 GB Flash memory and can be downloaded, watched or shared.
Parrot Disco (fixed wing + 1 battery offering up to 45min flight time1) is available now July 2017 here. – MSRP: $699.99
Owners of a Parrot Bebop 2 FPV will be able to connect their Parrot Skycontroller 2 to Parrot Disco and experience the unique sensation of piloting a fixed-wing drone.
Here is a promotional video courtesy of Parrot: