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Swann Sky Eye – helicopter camera grabs great video if you can keep it aloft long enough [Review]

swannskyeye

Remote controlled helicopters have become a popular craze. With the possible exception of Justin Bieber, they may be the most popular things on earth* (*this may be a slight exaggeration…. Justin Bieber really isn’t that popular.)

At its best flying a remote controlled helicopter has the grace of a hummingbird. A gentle creature that floats through the air and zips along with immense grace. At their worst they resemble a rabid bat that is blindly trying to destroy anything that crosses its path. The difference between the hummingbird and the bat lies in the ability of the operator and the build of the helicopter. Take a look at the video review below for an idea of how I got on with this particular model, the Swann Sky Eye.

Features

– 1/40th scale helicopter – this makes the Swann Sky Eye a little too big for flying indoors, and a little too small to fly outdoors when wind speeds exceed 2mph (3.2kph).

– Learning to fly can be a bit of a challenge. It is not difficult to learn how to ascend or descend while in flight, but just like calculus, the challenge is controlling and understanding the RATE of change.

– I did break the stabilizer bar on my maiden voyage. I ventured a little too near to my fireplace mantle and broke off the end of the stabilizer bar. Fortunately, a few dabs of high potency glue and I was back in business.

– Does provide a *trim* option to help synchronize the top rotor with the rear rotor. This allows you to help true the flight direction.

swannskyeye2

– The Swann Sky Eye “Fly Gyro Technology” is used to self-stabilize flight levels. The way I understand it is that these essentially helps reduce some of the rotational momentum in the rotor when changing directions and altitudes. This is pretty common feature in most amateur level remote controlled helicopters.

– Surprisingly good video quality at 640 x 480 pixels and photos at 320 x 240 pixels that is stored with the 512mb memory. Videos and photos are easily transferred from the helicopter to a computer using the provided cable. The ability to capture video, is in my opinion, the primary reason why you would choose the Swann Sky Eye and not a competing product.

– Battery life is similar to other remote controlled helicopters – you will get 7-10 minutes of flying time. Once dead the battery takes 70-80 minutes to recharge. The manufacturer warns not to allow the battery to charge for more than 90 minutes or you may damage the battery. Note that the remote control does require 6 AA batteries (which are not included).

– The remote operates at 27Mhz which gives you about 100 feet (30m) of range. However, this can be a bit dangerous (as this reviewer found out) since once you are out of range the helicopter will immediately drop… and at 100 feet this can cause some damage!

Summary – The Swann Sky Eye is fun to fly, but take caution since it is large and heavy enough to damage easily indoors, but isn’t quite up to the task for outside use in more wind. In the perfect world we would all fly our remote controlled helicopters in giant gymnasiums that are filled with interesting things that we would want to film. Unfortunately, the real world may be a little less practical.

3 1/2 Stars

$73 on Amazon.com

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