Chris Savage reviewed the Dromida KODO for us. Here is what he had to say:
I am amazed by the idea that so much technology can be squeezed into such a small piece of equipment at this price. The Dromida KODO is an indoor aircraft, but I was still taken aback by its small size when I opened the box.
The box contained everything needed to take advantage of all the KODO offers. The ready-to-fly kit included a simple transmitter (with batteries included), a 390 mAh flight battery with a USB charging cord, a spare set of rotor blades, rotor-blade guards, a 2 GB micro SD memory card for recording photos and video, and USB micro SD card reader to retrieve them.
I was anxious to get into the air, and I began by thoroughly reading the double-sided page of instructions that was included in the box as well as the accompanying double-sided sheet of safety information. The full-color instruction sheet provided great information in a quick read, including how to charge the battery, an overview of the transmitter’s controls, preflight preparation, and even some simple troubleshooting tips.
I recommend the additional three-page manual that can be downloaded from the Dromida website. It includes information on flight modes, how to install and removing the micro SD memory card, information about replacement parts, and an exploded parts diagram.
After reading the instructions, I noticed that the quadcopter did not have the included rotor guards preinstalled. I wanted the rotor guards to protect the propellers as well as to protect anything with which the quadcopter might come into contact.
With the propellers installed, I charged my flight battery and was ready for takeoff. When connecting the flight battery, it is tempting to tilt the quadcopter or even turn it upside down for easier access to the battery connector. Instead, ensure the KODO is completely level when the battery is connected. It is at this point that the quadcopter’s stabilization system establishes a neutral position. If the aircraft is tilted, the stabilization system will be calibrated to believe that this tilted position is neutral and will stabilize to that tilted position once in flight.
This calibration takes place at each battery connection, so if you’re concerned that you’ve gotten it wrong, simply unplug the battery and start over. It was easiest to install the battery with the quadcopter on the edge of a flat surface to allow room for my hands to make the connection.
At this point, the KODO offers an important preflight safety feature. The pilot is required to arm the motors to prevent the aircraft from unexpectedly throttling up. This is done by moving the throttle stick to its upmost position, then down again after hearing a beep from the quadcopter. When the motors were properly armed, I slowly increased the throttle and the KODO was airborne.
At takeoff, I was aware of the sound of the rotor blades. Although not disturbingly loud, the sound is certainly noticeable and might be bothersome to others in the same room or an adjacent one—much the same as how someone may not appreciate hearing a TV or radio turned on by another person.
My aircraft initially required some trim to achieve stable flight, and I found that each subsequent flight also required trim corrections. I don’t know why, but my best guess is a combination of small differences in battery placement combined with small changes in the environment’s airflow.
I spent my first flights becoming comfortable with the KODO’s controls, and was impressed with the built-in stabilization system. It’s powerful enough to be of assistance, but not so powerful that it feels intrusive or overbearing. When I was ready to test my photography skills, I piloted the KODO into the vast wonders of my living room and pressed the transmitter’s record button.
Although the transmitter does not offer the pilot a perspective of what is in the camera’s field of view, the aircraft’s designers were careful in the design of the quadcopter’s body and the placement and angle of the camera lens. It was surprisingly easy to position the camera to shoot pictures or video of the subject I intended after a few attempts. Audible beeps and clear LED indicators on the aircraft let the pilot know when he or she has captured a still image or is capturing video.
I got approximately 5 minutes of flight time from each battery charge and flashing LED lights let me know when the flight battery was low. When I was finished flying, I removed the micro SD card and used the card reader to take a look at my footage. I was pleased with the results. The KODO’s onboard camera provides 720 x 480 resolution video in .avi format and better 1280 x 960 still images in .jpg format. This is plenty for fun point-and-shoot images.
Despite my successes, not all of my flights were uneventful. Flying indoors takes some measure of careful control and a few incidents involving the ceiling, a small cabinet, the floor, the hallway walls, and an end table tested the quadcopter’s durability. My KODO passed the durability test far better than I expected for an aircraft this small and inexpensive.
I have yet to install any of the extra rotor blades (thanks to those rotor guards) and suffered only a cracked plastic body mount point. I’m not sure exactly when it happened because it never affected the flight characteristics, and I repaired it with super glue.
The Dromida KODO is a great way for a novice pilot to experience the fun of flying and the novelty of aerial photography with a full-featured, rugged, ready-to-fly aircraft at an entry-level price. For experienced pilots, the KODO offers a fun, off-the-cuff flying experience that they can take advantage of anywhere. After getting some stick time with the KODO, I’d happily suggest it to anyone with an interest in flying!
Hobbico: 3002 N. Apollo Dr., Suite 1, Champaign IL 61822; Tel. (800) 637-7660; website: www.dromida.com
Thomas Morse S-4 Scout—Centenary Datafile 166
Next to the Curtiss Jenny, Thomas Morse Scouts remain the best-known American aeroplanes of World War I. Mass produced as a fighter/trainer, the compact, tractable Tommy was later destined for postwar Hollywood stardom with a raft of roles in classics such as Hell’s Angels and The Dawn Patrol.
Colin Owers presents a richly informative study with more than 70 archive photos supported by contemporary sketches and rigging notes from the 1918 S-4C handbook. Martin Digmayer provides detailed scale drawings in 1:48 and 1:72 complete with structural internals, while Ronny Bar contributes six diverse color profiles. Among those is a rare Aggressor-style Tommy complete with pseudo-German colors and markings for air-to-air combat training.
Twenty-nine color photos illustrate the surviving original S-4s in the US as well as Nick Clarke’s sole European-based Tommy. Full appendices include colors and markings data, complete specifications, and a log of all S-4s today.
The Windsock Datafile on the Thomas Morse S-4 Scout spans 32 pages and provides a wealth of information, photos, and drawings for those looking for scale documentation or who simply have an interest in learning more about the Scout. The Datafile is priced at £11.90 (pounds sterling). A listing of all Datafiles, covering many different aircraft, can be found on the Albatros Productions Limited website.
Albatros Productions Limited: 10 Long View, Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 1BY; Tel. +44 (0)1442 875838; website: www.windsockdatafilespecials.co.uk