Dromida Twin Explorer RTF – An Electric Airplane Review

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Dromida has been in the quadcopter business for a couple of years now, but they have recently made some changed to their lineup. In addition to the quads, they’ve brought in some new RC cars and trucks, and some new airplanes as well! While this alone is impressive, I think it’s more important to think about what they’ve brought to the table – all three of their new airplanes can be piloted by beginners! The first one we’re going to talk about is the smallest and least expensive of the trio – the Twin Explorer. When I say least expensive, I’m talking about a Ready to Fly (RTF) airplane that costs less than $40.00! Now, you may be skeptical – I was too. Keep in mind that this plane is going to be more of an ‘Intoduction’ to flying – it’ll be the type of plane that will be under the Christmas tree for the kids – and mom and dad won’t have to spend a hundred bucks to get their kid a beginner’s plane. So far, I’ve told you that it’s a beginner plane, and it costs less than $40  bucks – Interested?  Read on!

Specifications

Wingspan:   18.9″   (480 mm)

Length:   15.75″   (400 mm)

Weight:   1.4 oz   (40 gr)

Includes:   Everything you need to fly!

First Look

Like all of their quadcopters, the Twin Explorer arrived in a durable box that doubles as a carrying case. The foam insert will protect the plane and transmitter from all but the roughest of treatment – that includes all of the delivery companies too! With all the parts laid out on the table, it was clear that this was going to be one of the quickest reviews of my career! Everything required to get the Twin Explorer in the air is included in one box, and that means nothing extra to buy to put it under the Christmas tree…

The plane arrived fully assembled, with the decals already applied – it looked as though the decals were coming off the plane, but they were stuck well – no chance of them coming off any time soon! I was surprised to see a battery hatch AND a power switch on the belly of the plane – these were definitely unexpected!

Though the transmitter is small in size, it’s larger than a lot of other ones I’ve used – this one fits pretty well in my hands. I like that Dromida has included the transmitter batteries, requiring the modeler (or mom and dad) buy nothing extra. The 1S 300mAh LiPo battery should provide plenty of power for long beginner flights, and the included USB charger makes charging the battery easy nearly anywhere! Dromida has even included a set of spare props, for when the plane gets roughed up. The airframe is made of a very durable foam that is virtually indestructible!

Pre-flight

This would be where I normally go through the assembly of an airplane, but the Twin Explorer arrives fully assembled! Instead, there’s a few steps to get the plane ready to fly.

The first step was to install the transmitter batteries. The flight battery was then charged using the included USB charger. An extra cell phone charging brick is a good power source, but you can also use an open USB port on your computer or lap top. I then connected the flight battery to the plane, making certain that the power switch on the Twin Explorer was turned off.

I tucked the flight battery into the battery compartment, closed the cover, and powered up the transmitter. At this point, the LED on the transmitter was flashing. I then turned on the plane, and the transmitter’s LED glowed solid red – with that, the Twin Explorer was ready to fly!

Photo Shoot

Flight Report

I took the Twin Explorer out to my local flying field on a calm summer afternoon, only to find I was the only one there – as a result, I flew the plane with no one to shoot pictures or video. Still, it was a great experience! The transmitter is easy enough to use, but it took a minute or two to get used to the sticks moving each on one axis only. The left stick moves forward and backward, while the right stick moves left to right. Coming from my favorite 7 Channel transmitter, this was a little weird feeling! But, I got the hang of it and really enjoyed putting the Twin Explorer through its first flight.

I pushed the throttle stick forward and gave the Twin Explorer a light toss. At full throttle, the two motors whirred away and pulled the small plane effortlessly skyward! I pulled the throttle back to approximately half  when the plane was about 20 feet in the air – I don’t think the plane ever went any higher, not that it couldn’t have if I had wanted it to! The first turn was a little interesting, as I normally fly with ailerons. Since there are no moving control surfaces, the Twin Explorer relies on motor speed alone to climb and descend, as well as turn right and left. I mad a left turn, and the left motor slowed, while the right motor accelerated. This was not what I was expecting, but it worked very well! The little foam glider changed direction without any control surface movement!

After just a couple of minutes, I had ‘retrained’ my fingers and had the Twin Explorer flying well. At times, the plane would porpoise a little until the perfect cruising throttle position was found, but it was more than manageable.

Being summertime in Minnesota, with no breeze to speak of, I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. With that said, I still managed to get an easy 10 minutes of flight with plenty of battery to spare! When I got tired of trying to fend off the little bloodsuckers, I brought the plane in to land. Even batting furiously at mosquitoes, the Twin Explorer landed easily with very little help from me!

I really liked how this plane flew, and couldn’t wait to get my video pilot, Jim Buzzeo, to try it out! He had the same reaction as I did to the simple transmitter, but admitted later that it was a lot of fun to fly the little Twin Explorer! Check out the video we made for the Dromida Twin Explorer – there’s a tutorial at the beginning, describing how the plane works – Enjoy!

Summary

I wasn’t expecting much from a $40.00 Ready to Fly airplane – the Twin Explorer surprisingly changed my mind! Who would have ever thought that a viable airplane could be made to fly (and fly well) without and movable control surfaces? I surely didn’t think it was possible! The new Dromida Twin Explorer is a pretty cool little plane, and I’ll bet that there’s a whole lot of them that show up under the Christmas tree! Well done, Dromida!

 

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