Dromida XL 370mm UAV



Written by Kyle Jaracz
Big fun without the corresponding hole in your RC budget
Product review
Photos by Matt Ruddick and Kyle Jaracz
As seen in the Fall 2016 issue of
Park Pilot.


Specifications

Model Type: RTF utility quadcopter
Skill level: Intermediate
Size: 14.6 inches
Weight: 15.9 ounces (without camera)
Duration: 10 to 12 minutes
Price: UAV version as shown, $159.99; FPV version, $249.99
Info: dromida.com


Features

>> Auto takeoff and landing
>> Altitude hold
>> Auto-flip
>> Long flight times
>> Intense LED lights


360-degree view


Product review

The Dromida XL UAV comes packed with features. Everything you need to get started is in the box, including a detailed manual, spare propellers, a 2S LiPo battery, a 2S/3S battery charger, and four AAA batteries to use in the transmitter.

After the airframe is assembled with the included propeller guards, the original box can no longer be used for storage. If your bravery exceeds mine, you can fly sans guards and eliminate this small issue.

If you decide to use the propeller guards, installation takes roughly 10 minutes. Although a screwdriver is included to do the job, a standard screwdriver will keep a smile on your face instead of a grimace because it’s tough to apply torque with the included screwdriver.

Each propeller guard is held in place from both sides with plastic brackets and three screws, which makes for a secure attachment.




Well packaged and secure, everything you need to get into the air is in the box, along with a detailed and informative manual.




The propeller guards are secured by three screws—two at the base as shown, and one on the top. The clamp system used provides a secure and functional guard, but installation takes several minutes with the supplied screwdriver.


Gentle manipulation of the controls yields the best results with this large model. Fortunately, in keeping with Dromida’s user-friendly past record, the controller includes a dual-rate option that allows you to customize the level of control that suits your environment and skillset.

You should begin by allowing yourself enough space to learn the Dromida XL’s flight characteristics before adding the additional challenge of a small-field flight. I recommend having previous small quadcopter experience before you attempt the Dromida XL. There’s a lot of value in learning the basic controls on a smaller scale. Those lessons will directly scale upward to this model.

Flight characteristics are mild mannered as long as you are light on the inputs, but the quadcopter becomes jittery when you become heavy-handed. The single button-press auto takeoff and land feature works well and gently raises and lowers the model to approximately 5 feet, 6 inches high. The onboard barometer does a great job of maintaining altitude, but keep in mind that if you initiate a high angle of attack too close to the ground, altitude will decrease as you progress, so adding throttle becomes necessary. Remember that there is no satellite hold, so although the drone might hover steadily at a particular height, you need to compensate for wind conditions.

Part of the fun of this model is the auto-flip option. By pressing in on the left stick, you initiate a flip mode that will correspond with whichever way you point your right stick. As with many things in life, if you showboat too much, you will find yourself put into place by Mr. Murphy [Murphy’s Law].

Before you initiate any flips, be certain that your altitude is at least 30 feet. I found that when using the stock LiPo battery in calm conditions, performing a flip with this large quadcopter can lead to horror as you watch the Dromida XL attempt to recover and instead oscillate to the ground.

Adding directional inputs while this is occurring can lead to a faster recovery, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. One thing that I did notice was that the flips worked better earlier in the flight, so get the flips out of your system early! Fortunately, the Dromida XL’s airframe can take a punch. The airframe’s base has thick pads that absorb impact well, and it sustained no damage.




The size and shape of the Dromida XL lends itself to easy orientation.


I cannot speak to the camera aspect of the Dromida XL because I am reviewing the UAV version, but the placement of the buttons for both video and still images seem to be in good locations. The radio includes a cellphone mount so you can enjoy FPV.

Although I haven’t tested it, I think that if a pilot were to mount a lightweight gimbal and camera system on the model, he or she could get some nice aerial footage. This speaks to the control that you can achieve with this model, as long as you have the patience to practice small inputs. If you decide to try it out, please let me know how it works!

You can enjoy this multirotor anytime the weather cooperates—both day and night. The LEDs clearly appear against the night sky and orientation isn’t overly difficult. If one were to dedicate this model to flying exclusively at night, I recommend adding more LEDs. An occasional evening flight should go off without a hitch.

Flight times run approximately 12 minutes, but charge time takes two hours with the supplied charging unit. As such, extra batteries should be on your list. Bonus points if you have a fast charger!

For the price, you get a lot of bang for your buck. This quadcopter even comes in a variety of colors including blue, green, red, and orange. The color scheme looks great in the orange version I flew, but my guess is that you’ll be happy with whichever one you go with.

If you’re looking for a fun multirotor that will turn heads and advance your skillset, try out the Dromida XL!




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