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Holystone HS200 sUAS (drone) Review

Arrival – the unit could have been mishandled. I received one really bent propeller. Luckily I ordered the extra batteries and repair kit, knowing I was an inexperienced pilot. Foreseeing wreck, I did not disappoint me.

User Manual: I found it lacking.

More of a toy feel. Very light and thin. But strong. See below

Price point is very good. I wanted to make sure I could fly before I invested on a more expensive unit.

Battery life is advertised at 10 minutes flight time. I got almost 75% out of my third cycled batteries. I flew 7:16 min indoors. Also kept the drone at 6 feet or less  above ground level “AGL”. I am 6 foot tall and drone was always below my leveled line of sight. Less battery power to climb.

How long will it fly outside? At 50 feet above mechanical wind effects. I expect a significant decrease in flight time due to obviously different environments.

Pairing: 16-20 seconds. I felt this was a very expedient pairing process.

Flying with iPhone – applications offers the ability for FPV (First Person View). Whether used with the controller or stand alone. No sensory feedback however. Found that it was too easy for me to be off the controlling areas and had to glance at the screen to place fingers back to their correct location. (This could be due to my lack of experience.)

Controller: I did not have this issue with the provided controller. Easy. You could feel the joysticks continuously. No presentable latency at 10-15 feet from either controllers. Don’t know the effect larger distances from the controllers will have on responsiveness.

Resilient very durable. Learning to fly inside presents multiple obstacles. I hit many. Drone still going. The aforementioned bent prop must have been be placing heavy object over the unit while on transport. I have hit most if not all the obstacles I have in my living room and the HS200 is in one peace. While so thin and fragile feel it takes a licking and keep on ticking.

Altitude hold: a big plus for a novice pilot and for the flight time. I never hot the ceiling as I had in the past with micro helicopters.

Camera: I am happy with the footage and stills I am shooting. Keep in mind it is just a 2MP camera. But I think the camera’s purpose is FPV and it is good enough for that purpose.

One press take-off: very helpful for control and energy management.

Headless Mode: I have not tried the headless mode. I want to gain experience before I discover what I expect to be a great plus feature to pilots.

sUAS Registration: The HS200 published weight is 108 grams. At 453.6 grams per pound the HS200 weight is 0.24 lbs. well below the lowest weight required by the FAA for registration. I am flying inside so far. No need to register since I am not in the National Airspace System “NAS”.

Make sure to visit www.faa.gov/uas for updated information and requirement on fly in the NAS.

Over all comments: I am very pleased with the HS200 sUAS. Becoming a kid in my Livingroom has been fun. Despite its small and light weight it is a resilient unit. I have had some time of fun and relaxation. It’s fun to see my piloting and directional input errors causing my CFIT. Controlled Flight into Terrain.

I am currently awaiting on a call to teach a continuing education class on 14 CFR Part 107 rules. I am required to provide the drones for the class. I know I could order several of these units, with the confidence that my potential student, regardless of their experience level, could wreck my HS200 and it will keep going for the next student to try.

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MACHO, MACHO-MAN, I don’t want to by a MACHO MAN!

As I pilot you are aware of the five deadly attitudes: Resignation, Anti-Authority, Impulsivity, Invulnerability and Macho.

I have been flying since 2000. And don’t recall ever fighting these attitudes until recently.

I belong to several flying clubs. I say this to reinforce the fact that, flying has become my greatest adventure.   I am a type ‘A’ personality. Which latter I am finding out a very high percent of pilots fall under this personality group (interesting is in it?).

I have a girlfriend that loves going flying with me. While this is of great joy, since statistically, almost half of pilots’s partner do not like to fly. Having this partner in crime also adds an extra layer of pressure and responsibility to me. Bringing her home safe.

One of the flying clubs I mentioned, Florida Aero Club, have a Chapter monthly dinner meeting and a Chapter monthly fly in. We also have a State Wide, (all chapters in the State) biannual fly in weekend. I have only missed one since becoming a member. I have made great connections with pilots there partner from all the State Chapters. Being a flying club you want to fly to these activities.

This last State fly in was threatened with bad weather almost throughout the entire state both going and returning. On the way back from a great weekend, after having done all my weather studies, I arrive at the FBO to see all other Chapter members there. Ceilings were reported at 800-1000 feet and they were not IFR rated or IFR Current. In my mind I could have made the trip back. Looked at all obstacle in my modified IFR plan which was fly East miss the cell and then cancel and stay on flight watch under VFR rules.

While thinking in all the options including that my girlfriend and I both having to be back to work the next day, she is a very dedicated Head Start teacher, there are friends there which as an instructor I did not want to give them a bad example. Something in my mind click. All of the sudden, I did not want to fly.

While I enjoy flying so much, I go through a mental process and get mentally ready for the task. I could have been that MACHO guy impressing the pilots at the FBO and my girlfriend. I could have made it home safe. Am I sure of that?

After over seven hours driving home I observer the weather I would have flown in and was happy to see I made the right decision. This decision was latter challenged by the great weather at the destination airport.

While this go / no-go decision was  not that easy to make I am glad I made it. My girlfriend was very grateful in my brining her home safe, I made a new couple of friends, they road with us, and I modeled to other pilots the antidote to one of the attitude that could have made us part of the Nall Report Statistics. Other pilots also rented car and followed my lead.

Not a bad day from a CFI’s point of view.

I hope this short article helps other pilots facing similar situations in this storm season. Be safe fly another day.

 

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