We have all heard of quadcopters, drones, and UAV’s, they seem to be very popular these days so I decided to purchase one to see what everyone was so excited about. What to buy was the next big question so it was time to do some research on the internet to see what would be the best pick for this soon to be “newbie” drone operator. About the only thing that I knew was I didn’t want to spend a lot of money (in case I crashed the unit) and I wanted it to be simple to fly.
It was pretty much the unanimous opinion that the Syma X5C was the perfect choice to begin learning how to operate a quadcopter with. The kits come with everything you need to get started and the cost is between $40- $50! It even has a HD camera so if you want to take photographs or video (low to medium quality) you can do that too.
The X5C weighs less than 250 grams so it doesn’t have to be registered with the FAA.
|Syma X5C (2nd generation)Click to see full view…||Syma X5C (1st generation)Click to see full view…|
There are two editions of the Syma X5C’s available (1st generation and 2nd generation) and they come in white and black. Originally I bought the white (2nd generation) but my wife and I had so much fun flying it that we bought the black (1st generation) a week later so that we could fly them together…what a hoot!
It has been suggested that the 1st generation X5C isn’t as stable as the 2nd generation but we haven’t found that to be the case (keep in mind we aren’t very experienced though) and yes we have crashed both of them but they are super tough so they are still flying!
|Box ContentsClick to see full view…||Box Unpacked (1st generation)Click to see full view…|
Everything comes neatly packed in a box and the only thing missing is two AA batteries used to power the control unit. There are four extra rotors, a 500 Mah battery (about 7-12 minutes flying time), an SD card reader (for the 4GB SD card in the camera), a USB charging cord, a screwdriver (some super easy assembly is required), the landing skids, rotor guards, the control unit, an operating manual ( a manual with a number 1 or 2 indicates which generation you have), and the quadcopter.
|Front View (1st generation)Click to see full view…||Box Unpacked (2nd generation)Click to see full view…|
The 1st generation and the 2nd generation X5C quadcopters are different in minor ways for example, the 1st generation has four legs whereas the 2nd generation has two skids. The 1st generation has a somewhat larger battery bay then the 2nd generation and the power switches are in different locations but all in all they both perform well and are great learning platforms.
|Front View (2nd generation)Click to see full view…||Lights On (2nd generation)Click to see full view…|
We are still learning to fly these quadcopters so we practice flying inside our garage before venturing outdoors. (Although we have many hours flying actual aircraft the skills developed there do not translate to flying quadcopters.) We want to learn in a contained, no wind, environment so we don’t lose the UAV’s or let them get out of range which is about 164-328 feet (50-100 meters). These UAV’s are agile and quick to respond and with a six axis controller they can really maneuver! It has really been fun flying them and if you are like us you’ll want to get extra batteries to extend the flying time as each battery takes about 100 minutes to fully recharge.
|Top View (both models)Click to see full view…||Bottom View (both models)Click to see full view…|
The X5c’s will even do 360° rolls (we haven’t tried that yet) and can handle light winds so they aren’t toys they will truly enable you to learn how to fly drones and if you add in the extra benefit of being able to take photos and videos (1280x 720 resolution/ 30fps video) how could you go wrong?
Want to know more about the FAA requirement for registering a Unmanned Aircraft?
|FAA Registration of Unmanned Aircraft (UAS) Requirements|
• A small unmanned aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 lbs. (250g) and less than 55 lbs. (25kg) must be registered.
• You must be 13 years of age or older to register a UAS. (If the owner is less than 13 years of age, a person 13 years of age or older must register the small unmanned aircraft.)
• You must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident to be able to register an UAS.
• People who do not register could face civil and criminal penalties.
• It costs $5 to register a UAS which may be done via the internet. Click here to register you UAS with the FAA
• Registration is valid for three years.
• Once you receive a registration number, you must mark the registration number on all aircraft. How to label your UAS
• For complete information see the FAA Registration Guidelines Page
|FAA Safety Guidelines
• Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
• Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
• Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
• Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
• Don’t fly near people or stadiums
• Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
• Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
• For complete information see the FAA Safety Guidelines Page
|Here is the white Syma X5C that we bought at Amazon: Syma X5C|
|Here is the black Syma X5C that we bought at Amazon: Syma X5C|
|Of course you will want extra batteries and a charger because the drones are just too fun! Battery charger and batteries|
The major museums of the world house aircraft from the beginning of aviation to modern times but there are no books that feature these collections.
A fellow aviator named Olivier Catta is currently creating a book that would bring photographs of aircraft of these great museums right to you! He needs some help funding this worthwhile project and has created a kickstarter page in order to fulfill this task.
If you would like to help, please visit his kickstarter page and consider donating.
Click here to visit Olivier’s kickstarter page…