Three years ago we heard about Parrot's Minidrone Hydrofoil, a radio-controlled model boat that uses a detachable aerial drone for propulsion. Well, Horizon Hobby has now taken a similar approach with its Blade Inductrix Switch RTF, which is a quadcopter/hovercraft combo.
When users want to get airborne, the Switch's copter component can be flown just like any other mini drone. It's remotely piloted via a 2.4-GHz dual-joystick controller, plus it features a Safe Angle mode that reportedly keeps the aircraft stable and level when those joysticks are released. One charge of the lithium-polymer battery should be good for six to eight minutes of flight time.
To convert the Switch into a hovercraft, the two rear motors/props are just popped off (they remain wired to the main drone), then the whole thing is snapped onto the included expanded polyproplyene foam hovercraft base. The front props now face down to provide an air cushion, while the rear props face backward for thrust.
Enthusiasts had apparently already been making DIY versions of such a setup by breaking apart the original Inductrix drone, so Horizon Hobby basically just decided the make the process official (and reversible) with this latest model.
Once the Switch has been put in its hovercraft configuration, the user switches the controller to hovercraft mode. They can then choose to pilot the vehicle using either a basic single-joystick option, or they can go with dual joysticks for more advanced maneuvers.
Along with being able to travel across varied surfaces such as carpeting, asphalt or dirt, the craft can also scoot across the water – its electronics are splash-resistant. An optional FPV (first person view) camera can be added to give users the feeling of actually being onboard.
First announced in September, the Blade Inductrix Switch RTF is now available for preorder, priced at US$80. It should be in stores as of December, with a $90 price tag.
It can be seen in action, in the video below.
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