Be A Responsible Enthusiast
Back when I wrote Nvidia Shield Review: Tegra 4-Powered Handheld Gaming, I had no problem taking the handheld console out to my front yard and flying Parrot’s AR.Drone 2.0 around the cul-de-sac. And while I was eager to start flying TBS’ Discovery Pro as soon as I finished building it, this time was different. The AR.Drone is a $300 multi-rotor. I was in for more than 10 times that on the Discovery. It could fly farther, its motors are capable of doing more damage, and I certainly didn’t want any of my neighbors thinking I was peeking in at them. So, I waited for a nice clear day and took the quad to a local park with plenty of space to learn the nuances of FPV flying without putting anyone at risk.
Really, that’s a great place to wrap any hands-on discussion of multi-rotor hardware. The build process is engaging, the software-based configuration afterward can be challenging and flying from the virtual cockpit rewarding. But the freedom to enjoy this hobby is accompanied by an obligation to respect it. High-flying craft with high-resolution cameras are easy to abuse. Abuse is countered by regulation. And heavy-handed laws have a habit of transcending the good old fashioned common sense a responsible hobbyist should be using anyway. Hearing about pilots flying multi-rotors up to peer through high-rise windows or near commercial aircraft is aggravating; those lapses of judgement affect the rest of us who want to enjoy the hobby responsibly.
Team BlackSheep does a good enough job compiling complementary components and documenting the build process that any PC enthusiast well-versed in searching online forums should surface from a weekend’s worth of work with a functional Discovery Pro. Still, this isn’t the quad-copter you want to start with. It’s a roughly $3000 collection of parts that I’m sure I’ll crash at one point or another. Get your feet wet on the more mainstream side of the spectrum, learn how to fly proficiently and then sink big bucks on top-shelf gear. Given the rate at which TBS introduces upgraded components and fresh recommendations, you’ll end up with an even better setup than what I put together—perhaps for less money, even.
Check out the following album for more pictures of our build.