We were among the first to see the fixed-wing drone from Parrot back in January 2016 during CES in Las Vegas. Now, the Parrot Disco is ready for consumers to purchase and experience first-person views of high-speed, long-duration flight.
Despite the impressive wingspan of 45 inches, the Parrot Disco is ultra-lightweight at only 1.6 pounds thanks to the extruded polystyrene body. Incredibly, this drone offers 45 minutes of flight time (again thanks to the lightweight body and fixed-wing design) and can reach a top speed of 50 miles per hour–yup, fifty.
Like the other drones from Parrot, there is no need to be an experienced pilot with the Disco; the controller software makes takeoffs and landings automatically and features a powerful autopilot function to assist during flight. For example, when the joystick is tilted to the side, the Parrot Disco will turn in that direction while the autopilot takes care of lightly tilting the wing and of increasing the speed of the engine. Takeoffs are just as simple, the pilot tosses the Disco upwards and the drone automatically climbs to a height of 164 feet and circles until further instructions are received. The Disco lands using data from its instruments (altimeter, ultrasound sensor, and vertical camera) after descending to 19 feet.
Piloting the Parrot Disco is more precise with the upgraded Skycontroller 2, a more compact version of the Parrot long-range controller. More robust than its predecessor in a smaller package, the Wi-Fi MIMO remote control offers a 1.2-mile theoretical reach! Model aircraft enthusiasts will be able to control the Disco with their own RC controllers in a fully manual mode with the addition of a small RC module to the drone.
The FreeFlight application from the previous Parrot drones has been updated for the Parrot Disco and now features “Return Home” and “Geofence,” making it possible to automatically return to, and circle above, the drone’s takeoff position thanks to the precision of its GPS. A new addition to the FreeFlight app is “Flight Plan,” an in-app purchase that allows pilots to easily create autonomous flights.
Finally, the range and speed of the Parrot Disco can (should?) be experienced in first-person through the new Parrot Cockpitglasses 2. This dedicated virtual reality (VR) headset streams live video from the by Disco’s 14 megapixel, full HD front-facing camera to provide a fully immersive, wide-angle view of the flight. The display puts the pilot in the cockpit of the drone and displays radar and telemetric data along the Disco’s flight path.
The Parrot Disco is definitely a “prosumer” (professional/consumer) product, and the price tag reflects that. A suggested retail price of $1,299 will get you a Parrot Disco drone, the ParrotSkycontroller2, and a set of Parrot Cockpitglasses. The Parrot Disco can be ordered online now from the Parrot website (direct product link) or on Amazon (direct product link, with Prime if you’re a member).