Most consumer drones strike an excellent balance between size and function, allowing you to get excellent aerial shots without having to carry massive equipment. Problem is, they come with some limitations, one of which is the inability to fly in high wind environments. If that’s an important consideration for your drone purchase, you might want to pick up a commercial-grade unit like the Yuneec H520.
According to Yuneec, the drone is designed to hold its position regardless of wind conditions, so much so that it can be used to survey an area in situations where manned inspections are deemed an unsafe option. Simply put, if you want to fly your drone in windy conditions, this thing is your best shot at getting it up in the air and actually recording in a stable manner.
The Yuneec H520 uses a six-rotor platform similar to the outfit’s Typhoon H drone, ensuring stable and precise flight at a wide variety of conditions, along with the same retractable legs that move out of the way whenever the drone is in flight. Unlike the Typhoon H, however, it comes with swappable cameras, so you can equip it as the situation requires. Three camera options are available: a medium focal length unit (E50), a wide lens camera with a one-inch sensor (E90), and a thermal imaging model (CGOET).
The E50 uses a 12-megapixel sensor to shoot 4K videos at 30 fps, while the 40mm equivalent lens means the drone can fly at farther distances from the subject while still getting important visual details, making it ideal for situations where it’s safer for the drone to keep its distance. The E90, on the other hand, shoots 20 megapixel stills and 4K video at 60 fps. With its wide angle frame and accurate color reproduction, the camera is being billed as ideal for search-and-rescue operations, 3D mapping, and accident recreation. Lastly, the CGOET is a dual-lens model that can shoot thermal and regular video at the same time, giving you a unique way to capture a subject, all while being ideal for low-light conditions. All cameras, by the way, are hot-swappable (you can switch from one to the other while the drone is mid-air), all while using a gimbal that can rotate 360 degrees over and over without the need to reset.
The Yuneec H520 comes with an Android-based controller, with its own 7-inch touchscreen, so you don’t need to use your smartphone during operation. You can display real-time capture from the drone directly to the controller’s display, although the resolution tops out at 720p. Do note, the drone needs to be within a one mile radius in order to transmit video properly.
It can fly at maximum speeds of 38 mph at heights of up to 164 feet, with the onboard battery allowing it to stay in the air for up to 28 minutes in a single charge. If you have a long enough power cable, the drone can also be tethered to a power source on the ground while it soars through the air, allowing it to hold it position for as long as you require.
Available now, the Yuneec H520 is priced starting at $1,999, with the price jumping up to $4,699 with all three cameras included.