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Drones have been in use for over a century and will continue to be used for quite some time. Also, the application of drones has increased in years, and they are now a common sight in our neighborhoods, events, even in some workplaces. It won’t be a surprise if the fields of drone application continue to expand.
This expansion has ushered continuous advancement in design and build of drones, and it has led to the production of different types of drones to suit the demand of different users. Fixed wings drones are one of the types of drones that have been around over the years. There are also the more popular rotary-wing drones, for example, the quadcopters, these are drones that move up vertically like traditional helicopters.
Fixed-wing drones, on the other hand, look more like the conventional aeroplanes. However, there are more differences between fixed-wing drones and rotary wing drones than the type of human-crewed aircraft they look to resemble.
These type of drones is usually used by professionals and in academics, and they are generally known for their ability to cover an extensive area. They are used in the field of agriculture for precision farming, in the environmental sciences for remote sensing, engineering, construction, etc.
They first gained their recognition in the military where they have been in use for a long time, and are used to carry out different operations.
These drones can fly for over an hour which is rare in rotary-wing drones unless a select few that happen to be quite expensive. Fixed-wings drones with these abilities such as wide range, long flight time, fast speed, high-quality camera, are usually more costly, and most are custom built. Another highlight of these drones is their capacity to survive in varying weather conditions.
However, this does not mean you can’t lay your hands on these birds as there some fixed-wing drones on the market that are not up to a thousand dollars. However, they may not have most of the abilities of the more expensive and advanced fixed-wing drones.
Some fixed wing drones are capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL); they are called hybrid VTOL fixed-wing drones. More advances are being made on them, and their popularity is continually increasing.
The Six Best Fixed Wing Drones Are Reviewed Below
There are fixed-wing drones that are worth over $20,000, that is to show how advanced they are as well as the importance of their application. Most of these drones are not available on your regular online store. You may have to make custom orders.
However, you can still get some impressive fixed-wing drones such as the Parrot Disco on amazon. Below are some fixed-wing UAVs that come with relatively nice features that you can get on the market without breaking the bank.
Parrot Disco FPV Drone
Parrot is one of the leading makers of drones in the world, and they have a strong presence in the fixed-wing drone category with a list of impressive drones such as the Disco FPV drone.
The Disco is designed to fly like a conventional plane thanks to its well streamlined and aerodynamic makeup. It has a light carbon, EPP body, coupled with fixed wings which help it to perform excellently in air.
The drone has a flight time of 45 minutes, and a maximum high speed of 50 mph which places it as one of the fastest fixed-wing drones on the market. You can use the Parrot Skycontroller 2 to pilot the drone over a range of 1.2 miles. The controller has some ultra-precision features which helps to make flying the drone more comfortable and more fun.
You can use it to perform different manoeuvres without fear as the drone comes with an anti-stall feature. It also has a list of impressive automated features such as automatic take-off and landing, as well as a return home function.
Another laudable feature of this drone is its 1080p full HD camera which is designed to capture high-quality aerial photographs and record videos. It also has FPV functionality and happens to be compatible with FPV headsets such as the Parrot cockpit glasses. The camera also has a 3-axis gimbal which improves stability and enhances the quality of the images taken.
You can also use the FreeFlight Pro app to control the drone, and it is downloadable.
- 1080P FHD camera
- FPV headset compatibility
- Aerodynamic body design
- Auto return home
- Anti-stalling technology
- live video transmission
- 2700mAh battery
- Brand: Parrot
- Model: Disco FPV Drone
- Flight time: 45 minutes
- Range: 1.2 mile
- It is easy to fly
- Comes with an ultra-precise controller
- Has an impressive camera
- Lightweight and compact design
- Compatible with FPV headsets
- Not the best for beginners.
The Parrot Swing drone is another impressive drone from Parrot, and it is no surprise why this fixed-wing drone is making an appearance in this category.
The drone can be classified as a hybrid drone in terms of its design and performance. According to the manufacturers, the drone has the stability of a quadcopter and the power of a plane. To this effect, the drone comes with two piloting modes which are the quadcopter and plane modes.
The drone has a list of customizable functions which also includes its controls. You can extend the range of the flight to 196 ft and high speed of 19 mph.
However, flight time is not one of the drone’s strength. It has a maximum flight time of about 8 minutes 30 seconds when it is in plane mode. Meaning you will have to get extra batteries from this drone if you want to get more time from this drone.
It also comes with a camera designed for taking photos. However, it is not the best if you intend to take pictures with high resolution and quality. It can be controlled using the Parrot flypad controller, which is also included in the package. You can also use the Freeflight mini, which is the drone’s designated app to control its movement as well as some features in the drone.
- Flypad controller
- Quadcopter mode
- Plane mode
- High speed of 19 mph
- Brand: Parrot
- Model: Swing
- Flight time: 8 minutes 30 seconds
- Range: 196 ft
- It is easy to operate
- Comes with two pilot modes
- Comes with customizable controls
- Its camera has poor quality
- The range is limited
- The flight time is too short.
SonicModell AR Wing
Sonicmodell AR Wing drone is a drone that boasts of high efficiency and good stability in air. The drone’s wings are detachable as well as the wingtip.
The makers of the drone did an excellent job to protect the drone from crashes by building its body with carbon fibre tube and spar. The drone is also lightweight, portable and durable. The is an extra plastic cover designed to protect the fuselage further. The drone can attain a high speed of about 50 mph.
This drone comes as a PNP model, so you have to do most of the coupling yourself. Also, other accessories such as batteries, radio receiver, and transmitter are not included in the package and will have to be purchased separately. The drone is relatively easy to couple together as well as dismantle, making it easy to move it around.
The drone makes provision for a camera, and it is compatible with most HD cameras, meaning you can install your camera, and take nice aerial shoots as well as record videos. Another good news about the drone is that it also built to support FPV flying.
It also comes with a pre-installed powerful motor, digital servos and ESC. All these combine to give a powerful and fun to ride drone. However, you have to do some coupling and extra spending to experience it finally.
It still has extra space that can take some drone accessories such GPS.
- Pre-installed 2300KV motor
- High speed of about 50 mph
- Digital servos
- Extra space
- Space designed for HD FPV cameras
- Detachable wings
- Brand: Sonicmodell
- Model: AR Wing
- Flight time: nil
- Range: nil
- It has a powerful motor
- Its wings are detachable
- Supports FPV flying
- Comes with extra space for more accessories
- It is fast
- You have to pay extra for other components such as camera, transmitter, receiver, charger, etc.
E-flite Opterra 1.2m BNF Basic RC Airplane
E-flite Opterra RC Airplane is one impressive fixed-wing drone that comes with powerful brushless motors and ESC, both of which work collectively to boost its overall performance.
It has an aerodynamic design and a durable build. The airframe is built with high-quality materials such as hollow-core EPO material, and reinforced carbon fibre that helps it remain light and rigid while in the air.
The fixed-wing UAV comes with vortex generators that are well placed close to the top of the drone’s wing. These generators help to improve the stability of the drone during flight.
The E-flite Opterra comes with hands-free servo connections that are safely secured in its plug-in wing panels. This makes the drone very easy to assemble and disassemble within a short period without using any tool or fastener.
The drone does not come with a transmitter, battery or charger because it is a BNF product, meaning you will have to get them separately. However, it comes with a 6-channel Spektrum receiver which you can bind with your transmitter.
There is a spot designed for HD cameras such as the RunCam, GoPro cameras, among others, and it does support FPV flying. So, you will also have to get an HD camera and an FPV gear, if you want to unlock this aspect of the drone.
If you are a novice in the drone flying game, the E-flite Opterra got you covered with its SAFE protection feature which helps to make the drone easier to fly. There is lots of fun attached to this drone with its impressive manoeuvres.
- Servo connection system
- Brushless motor, and ESC
- AS3X technology
- 6-channel Spektrum receiver
- SAFE protection technology
- Vortex generators
- Plug-in wings
- Designated noses for FPV camera
- Brand: E-flite
- Model: Opterra 1.2m BNF Basic RC Airplane
- Flight time: nil
- Range: nil
- it is easy to assemble and disassemble
- has a powerful motor
- it is lightweight and durable
- has a SAFE technology feature
- it is easy to operate
- supports FPV flying
- You have to get some parts separately.
GoolRC WLtoys XK X450 RC Airplane
GoolRC WLtoys XK X450 RC Airplane is a fixed-wing drone that is beginner-friendly, and it also makes provision for more advanced drone pilots.
It comes with a strong body that can withstand crashes thanks to the reinforced carbon fibre rod that happens to be present in its makeup as well as an advanced crash-resistant EPO material.
The RC airplane comes with an 11.1v 1000mAh LiPo battery which powers the drone for a maximum period of 15 – 15 minutes when the drone is flown horizontally. It has a maximum control range of 984.25 ft.
The drone has three flight modes designed for pilots in the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. These modes are the vertical, horizontal 6G, and multi-rotor flight modes. It is easy to switch from mode to mode. The drone is ideal for people that want to improve their flying prowess and can boost the learning curve for beginners.
It comes with a 6-axis gyroscope, that helps the drone perform excellently in the air, and It also has an altitude hold. You don’t have to worry much when it comes to performance as the drone comes equipped with three 3000kv brushless motors which also boosts its speed. There are digital steering servos present in the drone.
There are other exciting features available on this airplane, features such as one key take-off and landing, LED lights, etc.
- 11.1v 1000mAh battery
- Durable carbon fibre reinforced body
- Three brushless motors
- Digital steering servos
- 6-axis gyroscope
- One key take-off/landing
- 3 flight modes
- 2.4GHz transmitter
- Brand: GoolRC
- Model: WLtoys XK X450 RC Airplane
- Flight time: 15 – 16 minutes
- Range: 984.25 ft
- It is beginner-friendly
- It is built to withstand crashes
- Comes with three powerful motors
- It has good stability
- There are different flight modes
- The battery charge time is quite long.
Mirarobot M600 Remote Control Drone
The Mirarobot M600 is an indoor and outdoor fixed-wing remote control drone that boasts of impressive flight time and offers users different flight modes. You can fly the drone vertically and horizontally as a quadcopter and an airplane respectively, and switch between both modes easily.
It comes with a 7.4V 800mAh LiPo battery, and according to the manufacturer, it powers the drone for about 30 minutes, and it has a control range of 1640.42 ft regardless of whatever mode you fly it.
The drone has a sleek body design, and it is made from EPO materials which makes it lightweight; however, it still holds on well in the air. The drone has an altitude hold which you can switch to when flying indoors. This can be done when the drone is in the multirotor mode.
Mirarobot drone has a 2206 2680KV motor, and a 2.4GHz remote control controls it. The controller supports different types of receivers such as DSM2, FRSKY, etc.
- 7.4V 800mAh battery
- 2.4GHz remote control
- 2206 2680KV motor
- Altitude hold
- Multirotor mode
- Two flight modes
- Brand: Mirarobot
- Model: M600 Remote Control Drone
- Flight time: 30 minutes
- Range: 1640.42 ft
- It is easy to fly
- It has different flight modes
- It has a lightweight and durable body
- Can fly both indoor and outdoor
- Does not come with a camera as advertised.
Buying Guide Questions
The capabilities, as well as the applications of fixed wing drones, are extensive. Also, there is quite a lot to know about them. Questions such as why are they called fixed drones, what are they used for, what are the differences between them and other types of drones, etc. usually arise, and you must ensure that you find satisfactory answers to them.
Below are answers to such questions and other related ones. They are designed to guide you when you want to make a purchase, or further inform you on other things that concern your drone. The endpoint of this is to help people make informed decisions, know more about these flying machines, and fly responsibly.
What is a fixed wing drone?
A fixed-wing drone is also known as fixed wing UAV or UAS, and they are like every other drone is not controlled by an onboard pilot. These drones are designed with the regular airplane in mind; that is, they are designed to look and fly like the traditional airplane.
Some fixed-wing drones utilize propellers to thrust forward, and they are usually powered by an electric motor or a combustion engine which can either be diesel or petrol. Other fixed wing drones use self-propel themselves up in the air, and some of them combine both.
Also, there are hybrid Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) fixed wing drones that have multi-rotors and well as fixed wings. They can move like quadcopters, helicopters, and also fly horizontally with impressive speed.
What are fixed wing drones used for?
Fixed wing drones are used for a wide range of purposes. They can perform different functions. Their ability to use less power when moving in the air helps them fly for long minutes, and they also tend to move faster.
This makes them suitable for jobs that require covering long distances, and they do that in record time. Some of the industries where they are applied are agriculture for precision farming, collection of spatial data, military surveillance, land survey, etc.
They are not the best for aerial photography and video recording, especially when you want to hover around a spot and take photos or record videos. So, it essential you take note.
What is the difference between fixed wing and rotary wing?
The significant difference between fixed wing and rotary wing can be seen in the way they are lifted into the air and in their build. Fixed wing drones most times require a runway where they have to run for some time before taking off into the air after achieving lift as a result of their wings.
Rotary wing drones are the most common drones’ market, and they are classified into two types, which are single-rotor drone and multirotor drones. The single rotor drone usually looks like the smaller version of a traditional helicopter, and they have one rotor which is responsible for lift.
Multirotor drones come with multiple rotors and are called names such as tricopters, quadcopters, hexacopters, depending on the number of rotors they have.
Compared to fixed wing drones, rotary-wing drones are relatively easier to fly. They do not require special flying skill or experience to operate them. Fixed wing drones, on the other hand, require some level of expertise to fly them.
Fixed wing drones cannot hover around a spot, while rotary-wing drones can do that.
Do drones have wings?
Yes, some drones are designed like airplanes, and they have wings which help to facilitate lift.
How lift is created with a rotary wing drone?
A rotary wing drone creates lift by spinning its blade(wing) fast to move air over its rotor. This works in line with the Bernoulli principle. The wings allow for a type of flow of air in relation to its pressure and speed, which in turn allows for lift to happen.
What is Multirotor drone?
A multirotor drone is a type of rotary drone that has more than one rotor, usually three and above. They are named with respect to the number of rotors they have, and a popular example is quadcopters which have four rotors.
How do fixed wing drones work?
Fixed wing drones work similarly to the way the traditional airplane works. They achieve lift by moving fast in the air. The continually passes over the wings of the drone and then lift is produced.
Fixed wing drones have their applications. Knowing what you want in a drone is important before setting out to getting one. That is why you must do your homework well. Finally, it is essential that you settle for quality. For whatever purpose you are getting one of these birds, always ensure that you get the hang of how they work.