Sky Rider Drone

Reviews of Partwork series

Sky Rider Drone



Sky Rider Drone

Postby Mark » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:50 pm

Sky Rider Drone – an independent review base on the first two packages.

DeAgostini are offering us what can only be described as a pretty amazing, very high tech quad copter.
Before I launch into the review, let’s talk about quad copters briefly. They are four rotor helicopters and are a reasonably recent invention. They are controlled by varying the speeds of each propeller individually to make the ‘copter go up, down, forwards, backward, drift left or right, or rotate left or right. In other words, they are just as manoeuvrable as a normal helicopter, but are much easier to fly as they need an onboard computer to sort out what each prop is supposed to be doing.

The Sky Rider is very high tech with lots of gizmos on board to help you fly. According to DeAgostini’s web site, it features GPS, gyros, magnetometers, accelerometers, and a barometric altimeter, all of which give it a high degree of stability and should make it easy to fly for beginners. It wasn’t that long ago that this level of technology would have been science fiction. It also has an on-board 720p high quality still/video camera.
For the accomplished pilot, you can turn off all these sensors and fly it manually. This will give you a much more dynamic flight, but be warned, this mode is not for the beginner.

The motors are the latest brushless motors used in high performance electric RC models. They have a much higher performance and higher efficiency that the traditional brushed motors. In fact, the development of brushless motors, smart phone type high capacity batteries and miniature computers have made easy-to-fly quadcopters possible.

The quad copter is flown with a standard RC handset that will be familiar to anybody who has flown RC aircraft, but is a bit different to many car or boat controllers. It was two control sticks which will move up/down/left and right. One controls the height and turns the ‘copter left and right. The other will move it forward/backwards/left or right. There will be various other knobs, levers and switches to control the camera, switch on/off the flight assist sensors and activate the home function. The home function is rather useful for the beginner. The ‘copter should automatically return to the pilot if the battery starts to go flat. You can also manually activate this function if you lose sight of your ‘copter. What would we do without GPS !!
The performance of the ‘copter is quite startling. It’s got a max speed of 20 m/s, which is about 45 mph. It can climb at a rate of 5 m/s and rotate (yaw) at 220 degrees/sec, which is about 36 rpm. Plenty fast enough to remind the beginner that he/she has to be gentle with the controls, and fast enough to be exciting if/when you’re piloting skills are up to it !

On to the parts. The first shipment gives us the first four stages and you get propeller, rotor arm, rotor guard, the first part of the body and the first of two undercarriage legs. The DVD is included just to give you a sense of scale.


The body is beautifully finished with a nice gloss finish. It’s made from a light and very flexible, but is quite strong. It looks very crash resistant !
The rotor arm is an injection moulded plastic part, and looks very robust. The guard is made of a similar material and snaps firmly into the motor base.


The undercarriage is also a tough plastic, but has a metal shaft fitted to it. There is also a nice bright red nose to help you see which end is the front. It all fits together perfectly.


The prop looks like a fairly standard model aircraft prop, which rotates counter clockwise. The model has both clockwise and counter clockwise props, so don't get them mixed up !!

The second package gives you another rotor arm, some LEDs and the first motor rotor.


The LEDs are held in place firmly with the clear covers.

The prop is bolted directly to the motor rotor.

The instructions are very clear, and are provided as a glossy magazine with each shipment. Each mag also has some technical info about the model such as info about the batteries and balancing propellers. There is also a flying school section with flying lessons.

Finally, how big is it ? 45 x 39 x 19.5 cm, or 17.7” x 15.3” x 7.6” if you prefer old money (I do !!) Big enough to fly around a park without having to worry about waiting for a flat clam day. It’s designed by Pininfarina, the leading Italian car design firm, and it looks gorgeous.

Finally finally, a word of safety and insurance. This isn’t a toy. It’s a high performance radio controlled model and could cause damage or injury if you lose control and it hits something or somebody. While there is no legal requirement to have insurance, I would recommend you do have insurance. You can get this easily and cheaply by joining the British Model Flying Association (BMFA). They are easily found on the ‘Web. This model is probably easy enough to learn to fly without joining a flying club, but flying with friends is more fun. Most flying clubs will insist on BMFA membership.

So, what do I think ? This is a high tech toy full of the latest gizmos that make it easy to fly for the beginner and a great performance that is fun for the accomplished pilot. The parts I’ve received are very high quality and fit together perfectly. I like it. In fact, I really really like it !!

Use the following link to get to DeAgostini's official web site. ... drone.html

If you nose runs and your feet smell, you're upside down !
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