Nearly each drone controller makes use of a two-stick setup: one to maneuver the drone alongside the horizontal airplane, the opposite to maneuver it alongside its vertical axis. However that is not the way you fly an precise plane. Fluidity’s FT Aviator appears to be like and works like a standard flight stick, which makes flying somewhat extra pure when piloting your drone. Designed to work with most of DJI’s drones, this $349 controller is a great accent, in the event you’re prepared to place up with one massive inconvenience.
The FT Aviator appears to be like very like a controller you’d use for a flight simulator, with a number of modifications. The Aviator is supposed to be held with each arms, with one hand on the stick, and one beneath the bottom. It is ambidextrous, so you need to use it in the event you’re left- or right-handed.
On the high of the management stick is a panel with two arcs of LEDs; these mild as much as present you the place your drone is relative to your location. It is a very useful function on days when your drone is obscured by the solar or clouds. You’ll be able to tilt the management stick ahead, again, left and proper to alter the drone’s route, or twist the stick left or proper to alter its orientation. Urgent the set off by the index finger will improve your drone’s altitude, whereas pushing down on a thumb button will convey your drone decrease to the bottom.
Arrayed on the entrance of the bottom of the Aviator are a number of extra buttons to regulate the drone’s digicam.
A smartphone cradle attaches to the underside of the Aviator, so you possibly can view a feed out of your drone’s digicam. The cradle will be angled, moved from one aspect of the controller to the opposite, and will be expanded to suit even the widest of smartphones (no tablets at the moment, although). As a substitute of DJI’s app, you employ Fluidity’s app (accessible for Android and iOS), which for essentially the most half, appears to be like and acts identical to DJI’s app.
After connecting the FT Aviator to a Mavic Air, I took to the skies with ease. It twasn’t lengthy earlier than I may use the Aviator with out trying down on the controls, as I zoomed the Mavic round a area, weaving out and in between timber.
It actually felt extra intuitive than a standard two-stick controller, whose actions I nonetheless combine up occasionally. My solely quibble is with the thumb and set off buttons, whose motion wasn’t as fluid as I might like.
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The FT Aviator will work with DJI’s Mavic drones, Phantom 3 & 4, Encourage 1 & 2 drones and Matrice drones.
One massive catch
Those that assume they’re going to have the ability to ditch the DJI controller might be sadly dissatisfied. The one main flaw with the Fluidity FT Aviator is that it should be used along with DJI’s controller; in reality, your smartphone must be bodily related to DJI’s controller. That is as a result of all the inputs you make with the FT Aviator must be relayed by the DJI controller to the drone.
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This makes for a clumsy setup: a USB wire connects the DJI controller to your smartphone, which is positioned within the holder on the aspect of the FT Aviator. Fluidity even supplies a lanyard so you possibly can hold the DJI controller round your neck.
For those who do not thoughts not with the ability to ditch DJI’s controller utterly, Fluidity Tech’s Aviator management stick is a pleasant accent for DJI drone pilots. On the time of this writing, it was on sale for $349, $100 decrease than its listing worth. That is not low cost, however it’s half the price of DJI’s personal non-compulsory Good Controller, which has a vivid 5.5-inch show, however nonetheless makes use of the normal two-stick format. If you would like your drone-flying expertise to really feel such as you’re truly piloting a airplane, then make sure you try the FT Aviator.