DJI Inspire 1 UAV Drone
I upgraded to the Inspire from the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+.
The Inspire is an incredible piece of equipment. It is far more stable than the smaller Phantom, easier to see in the sky, and much faster.
I call my Inspire a “tripod in the sky” because the ball gimbal locks in on its target and no wind gust seems to affect it. And I live in San Francisco which is notorious for high winds and gusts in the afternoons. In situations where my old Phantom would be sideways trying to correct for the wind, the Inspire sits like a helicopter. The gimbal also has a tracking mode that keeps it on path when the drone is in motion, no matter how much physical turning the pilot does.
This drone is fast too. I’ve hit 60 mph (a flight data recorder keeps a detailed log of all flights), so it can get back to me in a hurry if necessary or if being fired upon from the anti-droners.
There are a few quirks to the Inspire that make me wonder if the whole concept was completely thought through by the DJI engineers. For one, there is a whole process to get the drone “transformed” into and out of flying configuration and travel configuration. It takes some getting used to when out in a rough field as the drone needs to sort of stretch its legs on a smooth surface to get packed up.
The worst bug (at writing in 2015) is a bug in the battery firmware that can suddenly drop 40 percent in a split second. I once had her hovering over an abandoned stadium behind a fence at 300 feet when I suddenly got a red alert that the battery was critically low and the drone was going into auto-landing mode. I managed to get her back to me at full-speed and landing in a nearby field in one piece, with me sprinting full speed to the makeshift landing site. Lesson learned is to always “top off” batteries right before flying.