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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
I love my AR.Drone. It's a fun little quadcopter that has quite a few features. With some upgrades to it, I've been able to get over 1,000 feet of range with solid video, so flying FPV using an iPad Mini proves to be a great bit of fun.

When I got my AR.Drone, I was very interested in the idea that the Flight Recorder was bringing to the table. Flying autonomously using GPS coordinates would be awesome!!! Not to mention, it gives me yet another way to control the that would be very easy for someone with no flight experience to be able to use...just tap the map, and off it goes!!!

All of these concepts seem great...however, the execution really brings down the overall package. I'm going to come right out and say it...I don't think this product was actually ready to be released yet. Let me get into the problems I had with mine.

1. It had trouble locating the GPS satellites. I found that the only way I could get it to locate them was to unplug the battery and plug it back in over and over until I finally even got the Flight Recorder light to turn on letting me know it was trying to find satellites. I will say that once I got the light to come on, it seemed to find the satellites fairly quickly and get a bit of a position lock.

2. If you just plug the thing in, the AR.Drone's internal compass can cause some problems. Let me explain...if you don't "calibrate" the AR.Drone after putting in the Flight Recorder every single time, it will think whatever direction it's pointing is magnetic north. The problem with this is in the way that it works with the GPS and the software.

For instance, if I turn everything on with the AR.Drone facing east, it now thinks that east is north. When I plot a waypoint into the AR.FreeFlight program's map, the system does the calculations it needs to know about how far to send the AR.Drone.

So, say I plot a point that is directly north of me, but remember, the system THINKS that east is north. So the AR.Drone sets off to the east, thinking it's north. Now here's where it starts to get a bit more tricky. When it starts to realize it's heading in the wrong direction, it tries to fix this by correcting everything, however, it's still way off because it doesn't actually know which way north truly is. So what you get is an AR.Drone that's desperately trying to get to where you've told it to go, but it's basically flying blind.

What makes all of this terrible?? When I had experiences with this...even telling the AR.Drone to stop by going back into the virtual joystick control mode, it would NOT stop trying to go where it was trying to go...and this ultimately ended up in a few pretty nasty crashes.

Okay, I get it...I need to calibrate every single time before using the GPS Flight Recorder...but to me that's just a strange hassle that shouldn't be necessary, and the one time someone DOES forget to do it, they could end up with an AR.Drone in a tree (or worse).

It should be noted that this issue with the internal compass seems to be something that does NOT affect everyone's AR.Drone. I've read where several people say theirs works just fine with no calibration procedure, but it seems more than that have the problem.

3. When using the Flight Recorder in virtual joystick mode, I had SEVERAL very bad crashes where suddenly the AR.Drone just angled down, sped off in a direction, and eventually slammed itself into the ground. When this happened, none of the times was I able to get control of the AR.Drone back before it met the ground at a pretty good velocity.

The other thing of note about this is that the AR.Drone will do this regardless of what you have the angle limit set at. I typically have mine set very low (I think it's set at "8" in the app) so that it moves forward slowly and is a bit more stable. However, when the AR.Drone pitches and starts to run away, it will go to a VERY steep angle...almost to a point of being perpendicular with the ground...which it should NOT be able to do based on how I have it set up.

Let me explain what I think is happening when this goes on. (Full disclaimer, I've taken a couple of years worth of classes dealing with GPS technology, I'm no expert but I have a firm grasp of how it works)

When flying in virtual stick mode (or when tilting the control device) the AR.Drone uses the Flight Recorder to help with position lock when it's at a height that it can't use position lock with it's camera system. So, the Flight Recorder should be causing the AR.Drone to "stay put" better than if it weren't in there at all, due to the GPS location showing it where it needs to stay.

What I think occurs is that the Flight Recorder suddenly loses signal, then tries to regain it and when it does, it doesn't have a full solid reading yet, and if that reading isn't showing where you're truly at, the Flight Recorder tries to get the AR.Drone there as quickly as possible. This could potentially be the issue even if it's not losing signal, but then somehow suddenly thinks it's somewhere that it's actually not.

Let's see if I can explain this a bit better, as it's hard to put into words.

Let's put it onto a bigger scale, just to explain. Let's say you have an AR.Drone that you are flying over Florida (we won't get any more specific, as it will make sense in a second). Your Flight Recorder knows you're in Florida, because it can tell that based on the GPS signals it's getting. Now, all of the sudden, your GPS THINKS (through glitching or a loss of signal) that you're actually flying over California, but it KNOWS you want to be flying over Florida. So, what does it do?? It tries to get you back to Florida as quickly as possible, despite the fact that you are still IN Florida. So, the Flight Recorder has to move you WAY east to get the AR.Drone to where it thinks it should be (but remember, it's already there) so it sends the AR.Drone on the 3,000 mile trip east...

Now, that's all fine and dandy, except you're already in Florida when this happens...but your Flight Recorder for some reason doesn't understand that, so your AR.Drone is STILL going to speed off to the east, and in this case it will crash somewhere out in the middle of the ocean.

I hope that makes sense. For the record, when I was having these crashes with the Flight Recorder installed, I was getting them regularly. However, when flying with the Flight Recorder NOT hooked up, I could NOT replicate these crash scenarios, which is why I concluded that the Flight Recorder had something to do with this issue.

4. Finally, as reported it makes placing the hull on the AR.Drone more difficult. I ended up just flying without the hull whenever using the Flight Recorder, and it wasn't a big deal to me...but I know to others it may be.

So, in closing, I think this accessory has some great potential. Unfortunately, that's all it is right now...potential. In practice, it's a device that could cause you to break (or worse, lose) your AR.Drone because of it's finicky nature.

I'm hoping to start reading better reviews of this product in the future, and maybe I will give it another shot. However, for now, mine was sent back to Amazon for a full refund.

Two stars because WHEN it works, it's pretty cool. The problem is, that's so few and far between it's not even worth trying.
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86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2013
I bought this with all the hype of how much the AR Drone could do with it. What they don't tell you is that the map resolution is so poor it is dangerous to fly it except in a wide open field, it only zooms in to 16x so if you are using an Iphone keep in mind that makes 100' equal to about 3/4". The only way to fly under gps control without the desktop free software by a company called qgroundcontrol is by tapping a point on the map. The desktop software is awkward to use but they are doing an upgrade to it to make it more user friendly. You still have to link the Parrot to the computer to input the gps coordinates each time. It can store coordinates but you are limited to a set of points at one time although you may have 50 points you still can only have that particular program. So if you want a different set of points its back to the pc.

The GPS unit does not play nicely with the control if you use the absolute setting, it will do all types of quirky things and not go the way you want it to. So I switch to standard orientation and calibrated and flat trimmed it and it appeared to be ok. It worked fine for 3 batteries. The fourth battery it was doing some odd things so I recalibrated and it seemed ok, I was taking it straight up to take some overhead video of my house and had it up about 35 feet when suddenly it listed left under full throttle and smashed into the ground! If you look on your software at the graph you can see the altitude of your flight, it showed mine went from ground level to 240 meters up and back down in less than 3 seconds! YEP supposedely 787 feet straight up and back down in less than 3 seconds! Some where around 400 MPH! I doubt it!

Before you think you need this go to the AR.Drone Parrot forum and do a little searching around and notice how many people had fly offs and never retrieved the rc back! This little $129 addition will end up costing you $429! Once it has flown off, if you don't find it all you have for your money is the box it came in and a charger!

Buyer beware, the Parrot Company is silent on this issue. It needs a LOT more research and development before it should be sold!

Here is a link to the map of the incident, copy the link and paste in your browser.

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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 8, 2013
The Parrot Flight Recorder simply does not deliver on its promise of being a fun, easy enhancement of the basic drone package, so I wound up returning it to

1. The GPS takes forever to lock on which really is bad news given the fact that the battery is draining down while you wait for that.

2. Acting under the GPS "guidance," the drone was incapable of simply flying in a straight line and the last thing in the world I'd want to do would be to rely on the GPS alone for it to go where I wanted it to go.

3. The maps feature is stupid. It opens up with a depiction of pretty much the entire world, which is laughable when you know that with at most 15 minutes of flight the drone is not going to go anywhere on such a map. You have to zoom way down to get to useful map information.

4. The flight recorder only seems to allow you to set one waypoint at a time, so forget about sending your drone off on a complex flight and film mission.

5. As others have noted, it does not fit very well into the battery compartment.

I think the Parrot 2.0 Drone is a great and fun toy, but this "enhancement" simply isn't worth it.
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61 of 76 people found the following review helpful
The Parrot AR Drone is an impressive product in its own right but this add-on takes it to the next level. I bought mine direct from Parrot because I simply couldn't wait to give this a shot, and it did not disappoint.

After a quick firmware update administered through the Parrot app, the Drone will recognize when the flight recorder is attached and will give an additional in-app option for flight control. Instead of manual controls, you will see a satellite map of the current location. Simple tap a location on the map, dial in speed and altitude, and the Drone will fly there once the "Go" button is tapped. Once airborne tapping on the map again will direct the drone to go to a new location. It still needs to be within WiFi range of a mobile device, however.

The GPS functionality also adds some additional capabilities, namely more precise station keeping and a really cool new in-app visualization that will project the flight on a three dimensional Google map. If a video was downloaded it will display it picture-in-picture. This did not work at the time I shot my review but I was able to get it working this week.

It should be noted that the Flight Recorder won't change the laws of physics. I took a super-high altitude 100 meter flight with it and found that the drone could not maintain its position due to strong winds. It will climb incredibly fast to the desired altitude so I strongly suggest flying automated high altitude flights over parks or other wide open spaces to ensure your drone comes back to you.

But at low altitude this is a real pleasure to operate.

Things get really interesting when the free software QGroundcontrol for Windows and Mac is used. Qgroundcontrol allows for waypoints to be loaded into the drone for a completely automated flight. The AR Drone can even fly out of wifi range of the laptop and keep flying on its course. Simply incredible.

Bottom line? If you love your AR Drone you shouldn't hesitate on the flight recorder. It adds an entirely new way to enjoy this great remote controlled aircraft.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I bought this for my second AR.drone, hoping the "return home" feature would save the day when the drone inevitably went out of the small WiFi range of the drone. However, within ten minutes on my first flight with it, I experienced the same problem many others have complained about. The drone just shot off at max speed in a random direction. In my case, it hit a house and just about everything on it broke. Clearly, the GPS gave the drone some bad data and the drone reacted to it.

I'm absolutely disgusted that Parrot would release something that is so poorly engineered that they didn't even bother to put a proper filter on the position data coming from the GPS. Have they never heard of a Kalman filter?

Folks, this is one of those things where a three star average rating is really more like a zero star review. What it's saying is that for about half the people, this was a disaster. Given that a disaster means losing your $300 drone, or possibly hurting somebody by flying into them, is it really worth taking the risk on this?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2014
The concept of the GPS feature is really cool. Unfortunately the ar drone is not nearly aggressive enough about maintaining its designated path. The first time I tried using it the drone almost flew into a lake the complete opposite direction of the designated path. The most recent time I tried GPS mode I permanently lost my ar drone in a tree. If there's a slight gust of wind the drone will very gently try to compensate and take its sweet time getting back to the correct altitude and coordinates. Unfortunately this means variances of 10-20+ feet in any direction unless there is zero wind. Flying manually you can easily compensate for wind.

If you don't want to lose your ar drone or crash it horribly do *not* use the GPS module.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2014
I had hoped that this would work with an after market App for android since Parrot still hasn't come out with theirs. It did work but it was so inaccurate I would be afraid to fly it. It was reporting 6 satellites but would jump from my back yard to clear across a major road abut 200 yards or so. That is way to dangerous to try unless you are out in the middle of no where and you might be able to get your drone back it try's to follow the erroneous signal. fortunately Amazon is amazing in their return policy. Which was why I ordered it from them in the first place.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2013
This GPS ONLY works with Apple, not with Android. The Android Free Flight 2.4 is "coming soon", but until then do, this product does not work with Android. Do not buy this product unless you have an IPhone or Ipad. How "soon" is "soon" anyway? It would be more honest of Parrot and Amazon to inform buyers of this before they buy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2014
Within 5 minutes of attaching, my husband lost this and the drone. He said, watch honey, I'll send it down to bottom of street and back. Never to return.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2014
This is a hit and miss. Especially the return to home feature of the app, the drone goes crazy and crashes violently. The worst crashes that I have ever had are with this thing. The QGroundControl software worked ok for me (using a Mac), but the drone flying with coordinates defined by the software is also a hit and miss.
My suggestion: go to an open field (football field for example), in a day where the wind is manageable, and then try it out with small routes to get a good feel for it. I cant say that this product works well consistently.
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