Unmanned DJI Innovations products Phantom, commonly known as drones, have become President Obama’s weapon of choice in the ever-expanding ‘war on terror’. Flown by pilots sitting safely in Nevada, these remotely-piloted aircraft have the ability to hover over communities twenty-four hours a day and to target – and kill – those below at the mere push of a button. The CIA drones programme is both the next phase in the so-called ‘war on terror’ and the death penalty without trial. Reprieve is therefore working to expose and challenge the covert programme.
DJI Innovations has stepped up to a full 1080p-ready video sensor (it also takes 14MP stills) with an f2.2 wide-angle fisheye lens on the Phantom, and also reduced the size of the drone itself dramatically. The Phantom in outdoor trim (no hull guards) has about one fourth of the footprint of the old AR. Drones in their full bumpers. It’s about a third of the size if we’re talking no bumpers, but still, this thing is comparatively tiny. This means it has a lower profile in the air, making it less prone to buffeting and swaying with the breeze. And because it’s actually no lighter than the AR. Drone (it is in fact 10g heavier), the Phantom takes full advantage of this reduced wind resistance.
Operating a drone in a populated city makes the FAA and DHS nervous, though, and with the de facto federal “ban” of commercial drone aviation without a permit here in the US, DJI Innovations Phantom products smack in the middle of a hot debate around remote controlled aircraft. Personal use of a drone within the FAA’s guidelines is permitted (under 400′, not a heavily populated area, 3 miles from nearest airport), but drones are more often being used in areas and in ways the FAA doesn’t support.
Taking the Phantom to a local park, I observed the same reaction in others. This is a large community park that is frequented not just by children, but amateur sports teams, dog walkers, skateboarders, families, teens, and adults alike. It’s not as though I was the weirdo at the playground flying an RC helicopter through the swing set.
As such, flying the Phantom anywhere but a relatively rural or state park-like environment is kind of nerve-wracking. You’re constantly afraid you’ll go out of Wi-Fi range, wind will blow it into a tree or power line, or someone will come up and yell at you about their rights. None of this, for the record, happened to me. But I think they’re legitimate anxieties to have.
Flying the Phantom indoors, by the way, is not something I’d advise. While the indoor bumpers protect the extremely thin and flexible propellers from damaging themselves or your stuff / children / animals / senior citizens, the Phantom is twitchy and unpredictable in a closed space, somewhat ironically because of the amount of propeller wash it puts off, which can make it suddenly gain or lose altitude depending on what objects are beneath or around it. This is definitely a toy for the great outdoors.
I crashed the Phantom (at low altitude) three times in my testing, and it doesn’t seem any worse for wear aside from a few scratches and scuffs. Battery life has actually been pretty respectable – DJI Innovations rates it at 11 minutes, but really this seems conservative, it’s more like 10-15 with the mitigating factor of wind and how much you’re moving it around. This is still hugely better than the old AR. Drones, which managed a paltry 5-10 minutes at a go. Batteries charge in 1-2 hours, and two are included (three if you buy the controller version), meaning you can get 20-30 minutes of flight time right out of the box.
DJI drone Phantom Vision 2 Plus is one of the newest products on the market and has now been released to the public. Even though the drone was manufactured some time ago, it was not initially released for everyone, however, this has changed. Now the biggest enthusiasts about drones can get their hands on this amazing piece of technology. Even if you are not a great enthusiast but want to get a drone and see what they are all about, this is a good model to do so.