Air Hogs has recently released a Millennium Falcon drone, and it actually flies! It is truly a surreal experience to watch it fly through the sky, soaring just like it would in the movies. It is designed to be as sleek as possible. There are no protruding propellers or wings; instead, the body contains the four propellers that power its flight.
In fact, the body is nearly the exact shape and design of the Millennium Falcon we all know and love in the movies. Although most drones are designed symmetrically for smoother flight and better weight management, the designers of this drone managed to make to keep performance while still having a non-symmetrical body design.
About The Performance
If you take the Falcon outside, it quickly becomes clear that it was solely designed for indoor use. The layout of the rotors makes it very unstable, especially if there is wind. The four propellers are located next to each other within the Millennium Falcon’s main fuselage. This allows for the design to be as close to the original as possible, but sacrifices the stability that would be provided if the rotors were to be spread out.
The Falcon does not have a high top speed and lumbers around rooms and corridors. This is an advantage in some ways as it makes it easier to maneuver around in tight spaces where room is not readily available. It handles like a standard quadrotor drone. It can fly in all directions and it can rotate horizontally. It can hover and it can move vertically up and down. Essentially, it flies more like a helicopter than a place (or spaceship in this case).
The range is limited to some degree by the range of the remote (200 ft), but it is unlikely that you will fly the drone out that far, especially if you don’t plan on flying it in the outdoors. It should also be noted that many people have reported that the range is much lower than advertised. Some reviewers have reported that controlling the Millennium Falcon becomes difficult at ranges as low as just eighty feet.
This lack of range makes it especially suited for inside play or flying around a small garden. It certainly is not like other drones that you will fly off until they are barely visible. In many respects, this is just a standard RC toy, albeit one that can fly.
The controls are not precision controls, so do not expect the performance you might get from a high-end quadrotor drone. Some users have reported that it takes about an hour to get fully used to controlling the Millennium Falcon, so there definitely is a learning curve. Expect to crash it many times while practicing your Star Wars maneuvers. Just remember to do your practicing inside! Even a slight breeze can mess up the drone’s balance and send your drone onto an uncontrollable flight path of destruction.
All you experienced drone operators will likely be disappointed by the lack of trim adjustment (trim adjusts how the drone moves, just in case you non-professionals were wondering). However, the lack of trim adjustment is not a big deal because the Millennium Falcon flies relatively stable on its own. It is able to hover and do tricks without any serious problems from the lack of trim adjustment. After a bit of practicing, you should be able to fly it just fine (indoors, outdoors might take more practice) without crashing.
The controls may require you to use the tapping technique where instead of holding down the joysticks, you just tap them in the direction you want to move. This technique works well for controllers that may have inconsistent controls that are either too sensitive or unresponsive. Simply pushing the joystick in the direction you want your drone to move may result in a turn too sharp or it may not have an effect at all. Either way, rapidly tapping the controls in the direction you want the drone to move is likely to work better and will give you more control over the movement of the Millennium Falcon drone.
Overall, it performs well. It is not as good as a high-end drone, but it is not supposed to be. The main focus of this drone is the design; it is the Millennium Falcon, and that is the main selling point. The drone is not built for speed or maneuverability but performs just fine at both. The gyro located inside of the Falcon is a big help in assisting pilots, and it is not difficult to learn the controls. The controls are exactly the same as any other remote control drone, plane, or helicopter, so if you have any experience with RC flying, the learning curve will not be too steep. Unfortunately, the design of the Millennium Falcon makes it difficult if not impossible to fly outdoors in wind. Wind will blow this drone around like star destroyer trapped in a cosmic black hole. Indoor use is recommended by most users and reviewers, but outside play is not difficult, although it should be remembered that the range of the controller is much less than 200 feet.
The Millennium Falcon Drone Design
As previously mentioned, the design of the Millennium Falcon drone looks amazing. It is not an exact replica, but it is close enough to the original so that it is easily recognizable from a distance. The designers did not attempt to make it purely functional and clearly made some sacrifices to performance in order to make it look closer to the Falcon we see in the movies. But let’s be real, none of us are buying this because it is a high-performance drone, we are buying this because it looks downright cool flying through the sky.
From the side, the Millennium Falcon looks as if it is floating. The propellers are well placed within the body of the Falcon so that they are only visible when the drone is looked at from above or below. From the front and sides, it looks as if the Millennium Falcon is really there, hovering right in front of you!
The rotors are removable and can be easily cleaned. This is ideal if you have an issue with tangling (don’t fly it into your hair!) as it allows for easy de-tangling without having to buy a new drone. If you are having issues with your Falcon, try taking a look at the rotors. It may be that they just have accumulated dirt or hairs, preventing it from flying with full charge.
The body is made from a dense foam, which makes up only a small part of the overall design. Most of the body is air due to needing space for the propellers to rotate, but the rest of the body is made up of the previously mentioned foam. This foam is both lightweight and durable, which is great because it allows you to crash while practicing as much as you want without worrying about destroying the drone. The rotors are well protected by the foam so it is not easy to snag, break, or jam them up on obstacles. The weight of the foam is also a bonus if you want to carry the drone around.
However, the design of the Millennium Falcon does have some drawbacks. The lightweight design makes it susceptible to light gusts of wind. As we previously stated, this can make the drone difficult to fly, especially outside. Luckily, the durability also makes it OK to crash without fear of destroying it. In addition, to help compensate for potential instability, the Falcon is designed with built-in gyro stabilization. The gyro helps balance out the drone and makes sure that it stays stable when you carry out your crazy turbo laser dodging maneuvers!
In addition to the cool body design, the drone has a few extra features up its sleeves. There are lights on both the front and the back of the drone. The rear lights are meant to simulate the engine (hyper drive for you Star Wars fans out there) thrusters from the movies and are accurately colored blue. The front lights just simulate the Millennium Falcon’s regular old white space headlights (don’t we all have those?). The lights make the drone interesting to watch at night, as it is still visible due to the bright lights, making it look as if it is really flying through pitch-black space!
You really have to see it for yourself. The lights add an entirely new dimension to the drone and make it seem almost real. The cool design alone makes it a must-have for Star Wars collectors and mega fans.
Another Great Feature
The Built In Sound Effects
For older fans, these sound effects will likely seem tacky and unnecessary, but younger fans (it is an 8+ toy after all) will undoubtedly love hearing the voices of their favorite Star Wars characters.
The Millennium Falcon itself comes with its own internal batteries. These batteries just require a bit of charging to operate and don’t require any extra parts on your end. However, the controller is a different story. You’re going to need to empty out all your draws and search the cracks of your house because the controller requires not one, not two, but sixAA batteries. It is surprising because the controller does not look large enough to contain six batteries, but it somehow manages.
This can be a downside because, as we are all probably aware, batteries are not all that cheap, and you’re probably going to have to go out and buy a fresh pack just for this drone. It essentially adds another ten dollars to the price tag, which can be annoying, especially if you just received it in the mail, only to find out that you have only five batteries in the house.
Millennium Falcon Drone
It is not clear why the controller needs six AA batteries, but we suspect it may have something to do with those sound effects we mentioned earlier. The controller is also used as a charger for the drone itself, so this is likely a reason for having more batteries, but it is not clear why you can’t just plug the Falcon into a wall socket instead. It is disappointing to see such a large battery requirement for a feature that does not work that great and is unnecessary to the overall aesthetic of the Millennium Falcon. The charging issue could be solved by making the Millennium Falcon wall charger compatible but it isn’t. Just be sure you stock up on batteries before buying this item, and send a pack of batteries with it if you send it as a gift.
The Millennium Falcon has its own rechargeable battery. It is a 450 mah battery that is rechargeable and not removable. Recharging it is simple: you just plug in the supplied cable, and then plug that cable into the controller. The controller will indicate whether or not the charging is working. The charging time can be long. It takes over an hour to reach full charge, and full charge will give you under ten minutes of flight time. This is a bit disappointing because it will take you several charges to jut get used to the controls of the Millennium Falcon.
However, this is a charge time and battery life typical of most drones, so it is not a problem unique to the Falcon. If you wish to conserve your controller battery power (or in this case, hyper drive power) you should look into buying a USB wall charger to plug the Millennium Falcon into. This will help preserve and lengthen the life of your controller batteries.
Overall, the battery life is nothing special. It is similar to most drones in respect to flying time and charge time, although the flight time may be a little shorter than is typical of some drones in the $100+ price range. The charge time is over an hour, which might be disappointing to some, but is, again, typical of many drones. The controller, however, stands out from most drones. It is an extremely simple remote, yet it still requires six AA batteries to operate. The remote does allow for charging of the Millennium Falcon, which is useful if you want to take it on a trip, but it mostly is an annoyance because it requires so many batteries.
It is really cool. That’s all.
Just kidding, we wouldn’t slack off like that, but it still is really cool. We have been waiting ages for something like this to come out. Only recently has drone technology gotten cheap and small enough to be able to create something like this at a decent price.
The performance is fine, and is well suited to indoor play. Wind and breeze will easily knock it around outside due to its light weight. It does have a gyro which helps keep it level, and the controls are not difficult to master.
The body is durable, which is perfect because mastering the controls will take some time (and plenty of crashes). The addition of lights to the body of the Falcon is really amazing and it makes night flying easy and incredible to behold.
The battery is OK. The flight time is typical of most drones, and so is the charge time, so we can’t really blame the manufacturers for this. However, it seems odd that you have to charge the Falcon from the controller. This does make it more portable, but it seems like they could have just given a wall charger brick instead of making you buy more batteries.
It should be noted that you can charge the Falcon from a wall socket, but you need a USB wall charger.
Overall, it is well worth the price if you are a fan of Star Wars. The feeling of awe when watching the Millennium Falcon fly in real life like it does in the movies cannot be stressed enough.
Happy flying and enjoy your Corellian Engineering Corporation “piece of junk!”