Flying3D YL919 ReaperUnder $50
The Flying3D FY919 Reaper at first glance doesn’t seem all that different from other drones on the market, but it has a few very surprising features. It has the features that we have come to expect like headless mode, WiFi FPV, automatic takeoff and landing, and altitude hold. It has nice built-in propeller guards that can be easily removed. It even has optical flow for added stability. These are all good features that add a lot of value to the drone, but the best feature for beginners is its unique beginner mode.
A True Beginner Mode
Beginner Mode is a feature we have been asking the manufacturers to include for a while. What do we mean by “Beginner Mode?” It isn’t just a low speed, but an altitude limiting feature. Beginner Mode makes it a lot harder to lose this drone. We’ve seen numerous beginner pilots lose sight or control of their small drones because they drift too high and the wind takes the drone away.
In Beginner Mode, the drone is limited to an altitude of about 10 feet. It allows the pilot to fly without the fear of losing the drone. I put this drone to the test with my 8-year old. Not only was he able to fly it, but he was able to pick up on controlling it fairly quickly. I didn’t have to worry about him getting it stuck in a tree or in the gutters.
Very Stable Quadcopter
The Reaper is a very stable indoor flyer. The altitude hold works well and the optical flow helps it keep its position. The propeller guards do a very nice job of protecting it from obstacles while in flight. It didn’t perform as well outdoors in light wind. In order to control the Reaper outdoors with a light wind it needed to be in high mode.
The features like headless mode and automatic takeoff and landing work well. The one-key return, however, was more hit-or-miss. Like all non-GPS drones, we do NOT recommend you use the one-key return feature.
The overall design of the Reaper is different. It has a fighter jet appearance. It looks good but has some extra weight. It seems it could have benefitted from larger propellers as well. The Reaper makes up for its small propellers and heavy design by flying off of a 2S 7.4v LiPo battery, a beefier battery then we would normally see on a drone this size.
The WiFi FPV works well, but the camera has a very small field of view. The camera will take 0.3MP photos. They will look alright outdoors in good lighting but are not HD quality. The live video stream can be viewed in real time via the free app.
The remote has a nice feel and a good layout. The production model looks to be labeled to help the pilot understand the many features of this drone. The smartphone holder is also unique we like how it holds the phone in the middle of the controller.
The model that we tested was a pre-production model and had a few flaws that we hope were corrected prior to launch. The motors and battery both seemed to get really hot after a flight. We also would have liked the optical flow system to perform better outdoors. Even in high mode, the drone was not very fast and it lacks a flip button. The remote has a lot of buttons that were not labeled, but that seems to have been changed for the production model.
Should You Get a Reaper?
Overall the Reaper is a good starter drone. The unique beginner mode makes up for some of the shortcomings that it has. It really is a great feature for a new pilot. The model we tested was a pre-production model and we hope that the Reaper that hits the market is even better.
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