BLADE 350 QX3 Quadcopter (RTF) (Discontinued by manufacturer)
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
- GoPro-ready right out of the box (GoPro camera not included)
- Easy to fly – no experience necessary
- 15 minute flight time. Advanced SAFE® (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) Technology.
- Mast-mounted GPS antenna for improved GPS performance
- For Technical support & queries please contact - 800.959.2305. Please do read the user manual before using the product - find it under product description in this page.
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The Blade 350 QX3 gives you everything you need to put your GoPro camera in the perfect spot for epic aerial shots.
Not included – sold separately
SAFE Technology Makes You Look Like a Pro
What makes the Blade 350 QX3 such a great camera platform? Advanced SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology. Using this technology, the Blade 350 QX3 gives you two flight modes that have been specially programmed for capturing aerial video and images. Both feature self-leveling and use GPS and altitude sensors to precisely hold position in a hover. SAFE technology will even land the aircraft for you if you activate the Return Home function.
Perfect for first-time drone flyers. In Smart Mode, the 350 QX3 will always fly in whatever direction the control stick is pushed. This is called Stick Relativity. It doesn't matter which way the nose is pointed. If you move the control stick to the right, even if the aircraft is spinning, it will fly to the right. Smart Mode also creates a SAFE Circle barrier that prevents the aircraft from flying too close to the pilot.
AP (Aerial Photography) Mode
For more experienced drone pilots. In this mode, the Blade 350 QX3 responds to control inputs like a conventional RC aircraft without Stick Relativity. It also gives the pilot more control authority by turning off the SAFE Circle and allowing steeper bank and pitch angles. This makes it possible to get faster panning and tracking shots when you're shooting high-energy, action video.
Alternate Flight Modes Available
The 350 QX3 gives you the option of accessing an alternate set of Stability and Agility flight modes. These flight modes are programmed for experienced quadcopter pilots who have mastered the basics and are ready for more aggressive response and aerobatic flight. To learn more about accessing Stability and Agility modes, see the manual.
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There is also AP mode which is more realistic but with the GPS and altitude hold feature, if you get into trouble just let go of the sticks and the craft will self level for you and stop (Wind Permitting).
What I do is use a combination of the two modes, I take off in Smart Mode, switch to AP mode and fly. If I get disorientated, I switch to smart mode and bring it back to me, then switch back to AP once the craft is closer.
Let me explain SMART Mode. One of the hardest things about flying RC aircraft is the fact that you are NOT onboard in the pilots seat, you are observing from a distance. This can cause you to loose orientation with the vehicle. Example when it is facing away from you NP, left stick input, the thing moves left, right it moves right. The problem comes in when it is facing you or sideways to you, if you don't have a lot of practice..Wham, you loose orientation and go left when you should have gone right....Crash and Burn!
With Smart Mode, it does not matter which way the craft is facing, you push the stick left it goes left, right it goes right. The craft can be literally spinning and this will still work out to be true.
With that said you should use AP mode so you can learn to fly it and you will have more fun.
Did I also mention that this thing will fly back and land all by its self?!!! How cool is that, flip the switch to RTH (Return To Home) this thing using the GPS and other sensors will just come back and land for you. This is also good if you panic.
Some other great features are, you can:
* Connect it to a PC/Mac and set up a Geofence, basically limit it to how far it will go from the radio in your hand and how high it will fly.
* In SAFE mode it will not let itself get closer to you than 15 feet, so you don't crash it into yourself. (You must stay where you were when you started flying for this to work.)
Some Cautions: I have heard Go-Pro's with WIFi can cause RF Inference, in the box you get some foil to wrap the camera in. I did not use a GoPro but had a Mobius Camera on it, but put that in a little box wrapped in foil to be cautions. You don't want you toy to fly off and crash or hurt someone, cause damage etc.
I also advise you to do the compass calibration process before each flight, it only takes one minute or so. Also for the final caution, make sure to allow the Aircraft to sit on the ground until you get a Solid Green GPS indicator.
I highly recommend, this thing packs many of the features you find on Quads costing 3 times as much or more.
I am also adding a CGo-1 camera that can stream video back to your smart phone to any device that can see the cameras Wi-Fi Network, this kind of gives you a view of what the craft is seeing, like First Person View (FPV). I will see how that works out, but again this is good step to get into the hobby and not spend more than $399 for a complete Ready to Fly Quad. Add a few hundred bucks for a CGO-1 Camera, a mount, a few extra batteries and you are only at about $600, that better that $1200, $1400 or more.
There is a fancier package for this model for about $800 that comes with a gimbal mounted camera that does 1080P 60 FPS, you can also just buy the camera separately and add it later, I may do that for Xmas!
Here is a flight video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDi_BDxW_Ss
You may need to copy and past it into your browser.
However, I do not like the fact that they did not address the GoPro issues. Using the included copper covering, sometimes, I still have trouble getting GPS lock. However, if I use the copper paper and aluminum foil over that, I have no issues. If you are going to sell a product that is advertised as supporting a Gopro, I believe that the advertisement should state the need for wrapping the camera in foil.
The picture was taken in Oak Park, Michigan. You can see the city of Detroit if you look closely in the background. The picture was taken with the plastic Gopro mount that comes with this model. I use a GoPro3+.
There are three different version of the QX3 sold, one that includes a gimbal mounted camera and remote transmitter (AP Combo version), one that includes neither (BNF version), and one that includes the remote but no camera (RTF). I purchased the RTF version. Included with the copter was everything one needs to fly: 350 QX3 Quadcopter, Spektrum DX4 remote, 3000mA 11.1v E-flite battery, basic balancing charger (also E-flite), AA batteries for the remote, extra set of 4 props, basic GoPro camera shock mount, and a USB PC interface for programming and testing.
This is definitely a step up from my Syma X5C-1 in performance, capabilities, complexity, and yes price. I would suggest starting with a smaller inexpensive quad that is forgiving on crashes like my Syma. The lightweight Syma X5C-1 can run out of battery 50' in the air, crash land on a grass field and be just fine. The blade weighs about 1.5 pounds (over 2+ with camera and gimbal) and will likely break if dropped from even 3 feet.
I spent a several hours reading the manual (the full manual is online, included in the package is just the quick start instructions) watching videos, and bench testing. There are many helpful videos on youtube that Blade has made available under the id "Blade Helis", as well as videos created by users.
Before flying I made sure the battery was good by checking each cell with a volt meter, I calibrated the gyros, calibrated the transmitter gimbals, verified the remote was correctly bound to the receiver, verified the props were spinning in the right direction, and calibrated the compass. I also zip tied some padding under each landing skid using foam pipe insulation I had laying around. This does two things, it softens landings, and extends the skids so that it will be less likely to flip over on landing.
The 350 QX3 has several flying modes: Smart - beginner mode where controls are relative to the pilot; AP or aerial photo for smooth dampened flight; Agility for high bank aerobatics; Stability for reasonably aggressive flight, but unlike Agility the GPS is still active to keep horizontal position; and lastly Return to Home that automatically brings the QX3 back to it starting location and lands (return to home requires a good GPS lock).
First flight...I started in Smart mode which I found awkward having previously learned basic orientation/controls and quickly switched to AP mode. I must say, this is an easy bird to fly in AP. The on-board GPS and gyros keep both horizontal and altitude position when you let go of the controls, it's basically defaults to auto hover in both Smart and AP modes. Agility mode behaves more like a simple quad without a GPS allowing high angle banking. Stability gives higher banking angles than Smart or AP while still GPS locking horizontal position. Getting into Agility or Stability mode is not explained in the Quick Start instructions but is covered in the videos. These modes are for more advanced fliers and not appropriate for someone new to quadcopters or those shooting video.
Return to home works very well (provided a solid GPS lock was maintained). The quad is somewhat slow to return so I wouldn't rely on it if the battery is low, but it does work. The few times I tried it, the quad gently landed within 5' of where it took off.
I haven't pushed the flight time and kept mine under 10 minutes per charge. After I get a field meter that connects to the battery balance plug I'll more fully test flight time. If the battery does become low in flight, the light on the belly flashes in a certain color sequence, but it could go unnoticed and cause you to over discharge and damage the battery, or worse have it drop from the sky. With any RC craft, it's always best to use a timer and be conservative- land before you desperately need to.
Spektrum DX4. This a very basic transmitter, but does what it needs to. It has a better feel to it than transmitters that come with sub $100 "toy" models, but doesn't have the features experienced RC fliers expect. It takes 4 AA batteries and has a battery level indicator on the front. They call it a 4 channel transmitter, but it's more like 5 channels in that you have the 4 channels of craft control (pitch, yaw, roll, altitude/thrust), and a three position mode selection switch to choose Safe, AP and return home (Agility and Stability modes require a special sequence to get into). If you already have a Spektrum transmitter (DX4 or better) or want to purchase a higher end model separately, then you can save some money by getting the BNF kit that comes without a transmitter.
The included camera mount has shock absorbers and will carry a GoPro. I have a less expensive SJ4000 camera which works on the QX3 without issue.
USB Interface. The included USB interface allows you to connect the flight computer to a PC, software called 350QX GUI can be downloaded online. The software allows you to upgrade firmware, confirm proper GPS operation, set the "geo-fence" (determines how high and far the QX3 will fly), and a few other things. Connecting the interface to the QX3 takes a bit of maneuvering the first time as you have to find the connector inside the body under the battery tray, but once you understand what you need to do it's pretty easy.
I'm still new to QX3 but so far I like it a lot. One last thing, unlike some quads, spare parts are readily available on Amazon and many hobby stores. No worries if you break a prop or the landing skids, you won't have to wait a month to get replacements from overseas.
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