I’ve had a bit of a fascination with drones ever since I first wrote about them in my Tech Universe columns. I’ve eyed them up on various websites, but wasn’t willing to pay thousands, or even hundreds of dollars for an item that for me would simply be a toy.
Then the other day I was at The Warehouse looking at cat beds when I strolled into the toy department and saw they had a discount on a toy drone that brought it well below $100. A few moments later I was carrying a Skyrocket Sky Viper S670 Stunt Drone back to the car.
While I have loads of rechargeable batteries at home, I didn’t have any ordinary AAA batteries. The instructions say not to use rechargeables in the controller, but I tried anyway. Nothing worked. It’s possible I hadn’t installed one the right way round or that, not knowing how to operate the drone, I’d messed up on that part. I’ll try rechargeables again later.
Meanwhile I borrowed batteries from a friend and determined that the drone was capable of working then waited till I’d bought my own batteries to play with the new toy.
My first session involved lots of crash landings and utterly erratic flying. Then the drone’s rechargeable battery ran out. The next session went a whole lot better, with fewer crashes and slightly more control of flying direction.
It’s a speedy little beast. The Skyrocket Toys website says it can reach speeds up to 16 mph (almost 26 Kph) and I can believe it. I can see I’m going to have a lot of fun learning how to control this thing, but I may need to go down to the beach for a bigger flat area to practice in. I’ve eyed up the cow paddock next door, but discovered something interesting: in New Zealand the cow paddock next door is part of a Low Flying Zone.
Something I hadn’t noticed when I bought this toy is that it’s a stunt drone. It can do flips and barrel rolls, but that’s a trick for once I master up, down, left, right, forward and back.
At the manufacturer’s website they have some instructional videos, so that should help.
I did some looking around on YouTube and found several videos from people who seem to know their toy drones. They all seem to enthuse over this one, so it looks like I happened to make a good purchase.
Now to find a good flying spot, free of pets, washing lines, tree lupins and long grass, and not in the low flying zone.