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Nine Eagles Draco Review

My good friend Bob Heybrock takes a look at the "Draco" from Nine Eagles.

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Foreword

I'd like to introduce you to a good flying buddy of mine, Bob Heybrock (autowrench here on RCG). While I was writing up a review of the Solo Pro V2 from Nine Eagles, I asked him to take a look at the Draco, also from Nine Eagles. Take it away Bob!

Introduction


Rotor Diameter:7.40" (188mm)
Length:8.39" (213mm)
Weight:1.02oz (29g)
Transmitter:2.4GHz
Battery:1S 3.7v 110mAh Li-Po
Typical Flight Duration:7 Minutes
Manufacturer:Nine Eagles
Available From:Tower Hobbies
Price:$44.99

Nine Eagles have been popping up on the forums for a while now, and Hobbico recently announced that they would be carrying some of the line, specifically the “Solo Pro” and the “Draco”. The “Draco”, a fun little indoor heli with good stability & control, is the one I’ll be looking at in this review. Because of the dual rotating main rotor blades, which requires no tail rotor, it includes a fully enclosed canopy from tip to tail. The price point of these aircraft have made them very popular for “children” of all ages and offers some simple “low stress” fun during the winter months. While performing my review & flying it around work several were asking about & considering them as Christmas gifts. More folks than you think are just fascinated with these little flying machines.

Kit Contents

Kit Contents
Assembled heli
Instruction Manual
2.4GHz Transmitter
Batteries (4-AA & 1-Li-Po)
Small Phillips head (size 0) screwdriver

Assembly

None needed: Open box, install batteries, charge heli battery & fly.

Radio

The transmitter has a nice feel to it and I recommend getting familiar with some of the functions by referring to the Instruction Manual. Most important is how to change the dual rate flight mode, which is done by simply pressing straight down on the cyclic stick, rather clever I’d say; an icon on the LCD indicates which mode it is in. The same method is used for binding the transmitter but instead with the throttle/rudder stick, this is not necessary since it is already bound prior to shipping. Also, if desired, review how to switch from mode 2 to mode 1 (mine was set up as mode 2 out of the box.) I recommend immediately getting the battery charged up in the transmitter while reading further through the Instruction Manual & don’t get confused by the occasional translation error, which some are rather amusing. Lots of pictures including “Misoperation” as well as “Right Operation” assists with good comprehension for set up & flying. One important error noticed is that the green LED on the rear of the transmitter that indicates charging of the heli battery actually blinks continuously rather than going out (as stated in the manual) when a fully charge status is reached.

Flying

The unit is rather quiet compared to, for instance, the SOLO Pro. This might be due to the fully enclosed canopy.

Mine trimmed out fine at the transmitter but I noticed the servo control rod ball links are threaded for more adjustment if necessary.

One thing I like about the “Draco”, is not having to worry about taking off (or landing for that matter) on really slick surfaces such as coffee tables & countertops since the counter-rotating blades eliminate the tendency for it to spin around and fall off smaller surfaces.

I originally estimated about 4-5 minutes of flight time and was surprised when I actually used a stop watch (well, actually one of the “tools” on my cell phone) and discovered over 7 minutes before it slowly drifted to a soft landing with full throttle applied.

The “Draco” is equipped with self-stabilizing technology, which is ideal for new pilots. It makes it react like an old fixed wing trainer by righting itself to a hover when letting go of the cyclic stick. This control also seems to have an effect on any direction of flight inputted, for example when pushing the cyclic fully forward, and holding it, the heli will travel approx 10-12 feet before slowing again to a hover.

Watch out on rapid decent or quick maneuvers at slower speeds however because the rotors slow down the gyroscopic effects decrease and it can be tough to regain stable flight afterwards. This is even more noticeable as the battery power decreases slightly after around the 5 minute mark of flying.

Special Flight Performance

The dual rates are detectible, not so much with throttle or rudder but with a quicker responding cyclic. The rudder reacts the best of all in either mode and is probably the best way to avoid a collision with an undesirable object.

As mentioned in the intro, the “Draco” is an “indoor” heli and if you want to have any control outside it must be dead calm. I would imagine even a slight draft from an HVAC unit indoors could cause some problems.

Reinstallation of the flybar was needed more often than anything, following contact with immovable objects but is easy enough to do, and is reversible so it cannot be put on incorrectly.

It was observed that the control links from the swash plate to the lower blade had possibly another location that might allow for greater throw in the form of longer pivot shafts, which it did based on a short test flight, however the guide pins that are responsible for keeping the control links vertical are not long enough to do their job in this position so it appears this was never intended.

Is it for the beginner?

Even though the Instruction Manual warns against it I say it is for the beginner. I handed the controls off to a couple of individuals who had either never flown or had so little experience they qualified as such and they where able to control the Draco immediately.

Battery charging:

It takes just over 30 minutes to charge a fully depleted battery with fresh transmitter batteries. Therefore extra Li-Po(s) would be desirable because you know after showing it to your friends they are going to want to give it a test flight…Inside your house of course! (Maybe you shouldn’t get any extra batteries.) The LCD on the transmitter also includes a battery status indicator, which showed 50% after two charging cycles & one flight but seems to still operate & charge fine.

Video and Photo Gallery

Youtube Link

Conclusion

Compared to some similar sized “department store” products the “Draco” is very maneuverable & controllable indoors, and at only slightly more cost. It appears to be fairly durable although the flybar did break a couple of times during some more disastrous mishaps but was easily repaired with some CA.

Pros:
Easy to fly with good control indoors.
Respectable flight duration.
Nice quality transmitter.
Easy to transport in box with no risk of damage.

Cons:
Battery charging time a bit longer than desired.

Last edited by Angela H; Dec 21, 2011 at 07:35 AM..

Discussion

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Old Dec 21, 2011, 08:51 AM
Did you check the FAQ already?
SoloProFan's Avatar
The Netherlands
Joined Jul 2010
12,122 Posts
Good review. I'm a bit surprised about the 7 minutes flight time. I have the Solo coax and could fly up to 10 minutes on the stock 110 mAh lipo. I assume the Draco is a little heavier and believe it has stronger motors than it's predecessor..
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 04:54 PM
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DismayingObservation's Avatar
Southern California
Joined Feb 2006
2,812 Posts
One thing the local hobby shop discovered quickly is the fact this little gem has rather fragile landing skids. He was able to fix it with some PlastiZAP, but either get an extra pair or two of skids to keep on hand or land it real easy.

Other than that little hiccup, this had to have been the most fun I've ever had with a coaxial nano. Even experienced pilots will have a ball with this.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 11:00 PM
Registered User
Edmonton Alberta Canada
Joined Jul 2005
39 Posts
Proprietary 2.4 GHz?

How many channels?
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Old Dec 23, 2011, 02:38 PM
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DismayingObservation's Avatar
Southern California
Joined Feb 2006
2,812 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeFright View Post
Proprietary 2.4 GHz?

How many channels?
It has the same radio system as every other NE model I've ever flown, so yes, it's likely proprietary. Might be worth finding out if it's compatible with another system; I'll do a bit of Googling.

I'm certain it's four channel operation.
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Old Dec 23, 2011, 04:54 PM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeFright View Post
Proprietary 2.4 GHz?

How many channels?
Yes it's four channel, and as far as I can tell it is proprietary to nine eagles. If anyone finds out more about compatibility, please let us know!
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Last edited by CSpaced; Dec 27, 2011 at 09:48 AM.
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Old Dec 27, 2011, 12:39 AM
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DismayingObservation's Avatar
Southern California
Joined Feb 2006
2,812 Posts
After a bit o' searching, it would seem that Nine Eagles makes their own entry level component radios. So, I'm thinking that the protocol is their own as well.
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Old Dec 28, 2011, 09:49 PM
If it flies, I can crash it.
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Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Joined Nov 2003
1,483 Posts
I have the Solo Pro and a little faster version of the coax that was called the Bravo III. The Nine Eagles are well made and fly every bit as well as the blade products. Spare parts available for the entire line. My Pro flew better and is more durable than the fp micro blade. The Nine Eagle radios are 2.4ghz and are on their own protocol. Now that the Nine Eagles are half the price I paid they are the best value on the market.
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 03:14 PM
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Joined Dec 2008
344 Posts
Been looking at this heli for a couple of weeks now. Have a question. I noticed that the lipo that comes with it has a different connector, but will a conventional 1 cell lipo plug into the Draco?

Bob
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