The The Phantom FC40 Quadcopter is based on the same platform as the original DJI Phantom and features a detachable first-person view (FPV) camera with MicroSD recording as well as a 6-Channel, 5.8GHz Transmitter (TX). It is designed to get you started flying and capturing aerial video, the only additional piece of hardware required being your smartphone or other mobile device running iOS or Android.
The FPV camera has a native resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 fps. It features its own 2.4GHz Wi-Fi transmitter that beams a low-latency, WQVGA resolution (400 x 240 pixels) video feed to a mobile device up to 328' feet line-of-sight away, depending on conditions. Because the transmitter for the FC40 operates on 5.8GHz, there is no danger of the camera's Wi-Fi causing harmful interference. The camera records video internally to a MicroSD/MicroSDHC memory card, and supports capacities up to 64GB.
As with several other DJI quadcopters, the FC40 uses the Naza-M V2 flight control system to maintain flight stability and provide assisted flying features. Out of the box, the FC40 comes configured with two GPS flight modes, GPS Mode and GPS Attitude Mode. GPS Mode will probably be preferred by beginners as it provides the greatest autopilot redundancy and also holds the aircraft in a fixed hover whenever you release the controls, automatically compensating for drift and light wind. Additional functionality can be unlocked using the Naza Assistant Software for desktop computers running Windows only.
This version of the FC40 ships "ready-to-fly", meaning that a 6-channel, 5.8GHz transmitter is included and pre-bound with the aircraft, and that only minimal assembly is required. The tranmitter is configured by default to "Mode 2". Mode 2 is considered the most popular in the U.S., but may be less familiar to pilots from other countries. As with any multi-rotor system, before flying the Phantom FC40 you will still need to follow all of the proper calibration steps and ensure adequate GPS connectivity for the Naza flight control system to operate correctly.
- Minimal Assembly Required
- Those used to other RC aircraft will note the FC40 requires only basic assembly using a screw driver and supplied wrench. You will just need to attach the rotors, skids, and a few other small parts. Once assembled you will need to be sure to follow all of the calibration steps to ensure correct operation of the GPS autopilot system before flying.
- Includes Transmitter (TX)
- The Phantom FC40 features a 6-channel, 5.8GHz WI-Fi transmitter, with dual joystick controls similar to the kind found on other multi-rotor RC aircraft transmitters. The sticks are configured in "Mode 2", the most popular mode in the U.S. The left stick controls throttle (up/down) and yaw (essentially rotation). And the right stick controls cyclic motion (side-to-side tilt pressing right/left and tilting the nose up or down pressing up/down). A switch on the top right lets you choose between Attitude and GPS flight modes and a similar switch on the left lets you select between IOC modes.
- Detachable 720p FPV Camera
- A 720p first-person view camera comes with the FC40 and features a wide-angle, 100° field of view lens. It uses a thumbscrew attachment similar to a GoPro mount that allows the camera to be manually tilted up or down before flight. Using a smartphone mounted to the transmitter you can monitor as well as record a low-latency, live video feed from the camera at WQVGA resolution (400 x 240 pixels) using the free FC40 app for iOS and Android. In addition, the camera features a MicroSD slot allowing you to record video internally using cards up to 32GB. A dedicated 2.4GHz transmitter in the quadcopter provides the wireless link, and features a line-of-sight range of up to 328', depending on conditions.
- Up to 12 Minutes Flying Time
- The standard 11.1V, 2200mAh 3S lithium-polymer (LiPo) battery is able to power the FC40 for up to 12 minutes. It can be charged using a variety of RC balance chargers including the charger for the original DJI Phantom with GoPro Mount.
- Naza-M V2 Flight Control System
- The brains of the aircraft, the FC40 uses the same Naza-M V2 flight control system as several other DJI models, including the original Phantom. The software ships preconfigured with two available flight modes, GPS Mode and GPS Attitude Mode. Additional modes and other custom configurations can be enabled using the Naza Assistant software, a Windows-only application available for free download from the DJI website. In addition, the software can offload flight data for diagnostic and teaching purposes and well as perform firmware updates.
- Attitude and GPS Flight Modes
The FC40 has two GPs-assisted flight modes for you to choose from. Of the two, GPS Mode is the most automatic. In GPS Mode the Quadcopter will stop as soon as you release the controls and stay hovering at a fixed horizontal and vertical position. This setting is the easiest to fly and is generally preferred for shooting video as the Quadcopter won't sway or drift because of light wind gusts.
GPS Attitude Mode, or Attitude Mode, is a more manual flying mode in which the FC40 does not try and maintain a fixed spatial position. When you release the controls it will continue to drift unless friction slows it down or you stop it. And in this mode it will be more likely to be blown around if there is any wind. This not a true manual mode, however, in that the GPS navigation system is still used to maintain flight stability and by the "return to home" feature in the event of signal loss.
- Return to Home Failsafe
- If the FC40 loses the signal from the controller for any reason the "return to home" feature will initialize. The aircraft will ascend to 60 feet then make a straight-line course back to the "home position" you will have defined during the GPS calibration process. Once there, it will safely descend to the ground and power itself off.
- Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC)
- IOC is designed to help make flying more intuitive. Nominally, the yaw control will allow the Quadcopter to rotate continuously, which can quickly become confusing if you lose track of which way is "front". Suddenly your controls can get mixed up, where pressing right causes the craft to move left and pressing forward causes it move backward. Intelligent Orientation Control prevents this from happening, keeping the "tail" of the quadcopter pointed roughly toward the pilot at all times. To enable this feature you will need to use the Naza Assistant Software.
- LED Status Indicator
- LED status lights on the tail of the FC40 provide you with various feedback as well as warnings. Colors alternate between green, amber and red and can either be flashing or solid. These messages give you valuable information such as whether the GPS system is properly calibrated, warning you the battery is getting low, or telling you the remote's signal is out of range.
- Self-Tightening 8" Propellers
- The propellers screw on directly without requiring a separate prop nut. This design is self-tightening so there is no danger of a loose prop coming off in flight.