Almost all consumer drone aircraft rely on four or more vertical rotors for all their propulsion, but then there are a few fixed-wing drones that can get moving faster. The Krossblade SkyProwler aimed to offer the best of both worlds when it debuted with its vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system a few years ago. Now, the SkyProwler 2 has arrived, and it improves every aspect of the original.
The SkyProwler and SkyProwler 2 are “prosumer” drones. While they’re not suitable for military use, they’re more than most casual drone enthusiasts need. The SkyProwler 2 has four propellers that lift it off the ground. When it’s airborne, the operator can switch to fixed-wing mode (the company calls this a “switchblade transformation”) and engage the single rear-mounted propeller. The old model used a similar system, but it had two smaller rear-mounted propellers.
When the SkyProwler 2 switches over to fixed-wing mode, the lift propellers fold in to reduce wind resistance. Krossblade says the drone can reach speeds as high as 80 mph (129 kph). That’s 10 mph faster than the old SkyProwler and about twice as fast as the most popular quadcopter-style drones. If you decide speed is not necessary for a particular flight, you can leave the rotors extended and remove the wings to make the SkyProwler 2 lighter and more maneuverable.
Krossblade reengineered the SkyProwler 2 frame to be flatter and more aerodynamic. It’s also 100 grams lighter thanks to the use of carbon fiber in the body. That, combined with the 50 percent larger battery, allows for a full hour of fixed-wing flight. That’s 20 minutes longer than the old SkyProwler. Even the cargo compartment got a makeover with 30 percent more carrying capacity.
The SkyProwler 2’s controller can operate from up to 10 miles away — that’s thanks to the new extendable antenna built into the carrying case. What’s the fun of flying this bird if you can’t get a bird’s eye view? There’s an optional 4K camera module that mounts to a gimbal on the nose. Video streams back to a display in the carrying case live.
As you can probably imagine, this is not an impulse purchase. The SkyProwler 2 will cost $2,999 when it goes on sale on January 31st. You should be confident in your piloting skills before considering this purchase. It’d be a shame if you crashed your $3,000 drone at 80 mph.
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