This article was originally published in RC Heli Pilot February/March 2016 issue.
Words Jimmy Beckett
Photos By Edwin Rodriguez
Estes has made an impression on the entry level quad market with the release of the Proto X, Proto X FPV and now the new Proto Z. Each Proto quad has brought with it features for a better user experience and I am happy to report that the new Proto Z carries on with that tradition. It’s an entry level quad that is so simple to fly, anyone can do it.
AT A GLANCE
TYPE: RTF Micro Quadcopter
WEIGHT: .59 oz. (17g)
MOTORS: (4) micro brushed
ESCS: 4-in-1 control unit
FLIGHT CONTROLLER: 4-in-1 control unit
RADIO: Estes Micro 4-channel
BATTERY: 1S 100mAh LiPo
FLIGHT TIME: 5 minutes
• Complete RTF package
• Stable and easy to fly
• Very reasonable price
• Flips and rolls at the flip of a switch
• Very slow speed
• Flips on command in a left, right, front or back direction are easily achieved and the Proto Z loses very little altitude while per- forming them.
• Includes USB charger and spare blades so you’re always ready for flight, even if you happen to damage one of the props.
• True direction mode for first-time pilots allows the Proto Z to move in the direction of the control input, no matter what the orientation is.
• Quick charge time and up to five minutes of flight per battery pack keeps the fun in the air, not on the desk.
After messing with the Proto Z for several flights you will come to enjoy its ease of use and stable flights. It’s a great way to understand the basics of multirotor flight and will make for a great gift to those looking to get started. Not only that, but you really aren’t going to find such great quality for less money.
Minimal setup time is required for this mini quad copter. Simply plug the drone into a USB outlet to charge. You will see the right light come on. When it turns off the battery is completely charged. Using a Philips tipped screw driver, remove the battery door from the controller and install two “AAA” batteries. Voila, you’re ready to fly!
IN THE AIR
Batteries charged and remote in hand; it’s time to take to the skies! Startup is simple. Turn on your controller and be sure the left stick is all the way down. Now turn on your drone and place it on a flat surface facing away from you. Move the left stick all the way up until it beeps and then back down. The remote will beep again and it is now ready to fly.
If this is your first time flying, Estes has included a great flight mode that I wish I had been able to learn on when first starting my journey into the world of quadcopters. True direction mode, as it’s called, makes flying very simple. No matter what direction the copter is facing it will move in the direction of your controls. No need to worry about reversed controls when the drone is coming back toward you. Simply press both the left and right flip button at the same time to acti- vate or deactivate.
For my flying I switched between the two, but felt much more comfortable flying in the standard mode as that is how I have always flown. This quad is a lot of fun and can be easily flown indoors or outside on a very calm day. It’s very responsive and incredibly smooth.
I wasn’t blown away by the top speed, but this makes it great for a pilot just starting out. Another fun feature are the flips and rolls it will perform at the push of a button. This little quadcopter can flip to the front or back and roll to the left or right by tapping the buttons in the center of the controller and it adds quite a bit of enjoyment to your flights. The quad is able to stay in the air up to five minutes depending on how hard it is being used. That’s plenty of time for a few laps around the living room or backyard.
THE FINAL WORD
For such a small, simple quadcopter, the bar has been set pretty high. Although I would like the LED lighting to be a bit more visible from the top of the craft, the ease of use, low cost and fun factor far out- weigh that. This is the perfect quad to fly from the comfort of your recliner or a great gift for the upcoming pilot in the family.
With the True Direction mode imple- mented it can make for a great first-time experience for any pilot. =