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It's a Bird, It's a Plane - It's a Blonde Robot!
Flyng the The Phantom quad-copter
By David Hague

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 Blonde Robot today announced that it has signed DJI Innovations as its newest principal for distribution in Australia.

 DJI Innovations, particularly well known for manufacturing high performance, reliable, and easy-to-use small unmanned aerial systems for commercial and recreational use, took this year's NAB Show by storm with its new Phantom quad-copter that featured heavily on the GoPro booth amongst many others.

 Blonde Robot director and co-founder Eamon Drew said, "DJI is founded and run by people with a passion for remote-controlled helicopters and experts in flight control technology. The new Phantom quad-copter is an amazing piece of kit that we are taking into the mainstream for everyone to use.

 Phantom has an external removable camera mount so you can mount light and handy cameras, like GoPro for example. Combine this with DJI's advanced autopilot technology and optional upcoming unique gimbal stabilisation system and a GoPro on a Phantom can film and deliver images of comparable quality to those shot on manned helicopters."


The Phantom quad-copter makes the most of its compact and highly integrated design fitting easily into a standard backpack. Phantom also has an integrated flight dynamics system, the Naza-M + GPS multi-rotor autopilot system, which results in a craft that is easy to fly as a beginner and flexible enough to please expert pilots. In a first for such a portable unit it utilises GPS to enable the Phantom to land safely from the exact point it took off from.



Eamon Drew added, "Another big plus for this amazing quad-copter in Australia is that Blonde Robot are committed to making the Phantom's use here as easy as possible and for maintenance not to be a prohibitive factor so we are carrying a full range of spares. With its clever design it is not expensive to replace a rotor, motor, battery or case and the Phantom comes pre-configured with the majority of functions set up before delivery, so you can fly it within minutes of receiving it."

The Phantom quad-copter will be available for review on Blonde Robot's stand at this year's SMPTE exhibition at the Darling Harbour Conference and Exhibition Centre from 23-26 July. To book a demonstration please contact Blonde Robot on 03 9023 9777 or at [email protected]

Editor's Note: I followed this up a bit and found out a few things more. First the RRP is $749.95; this is no toy. Apparently in Las Vegas one has been seen flying OVER the Eiffel Tower on the strip as a demonstration. Secondly, there is a gray area in terms of commercial use of these sorts of devices. Blonde Robot tell me that in the box are disclaimers that basically say it is your responsibility (as a user) to find out if the location and reason to use are OK. For example, I wouldn't use one here as we are in the flight path of the local airport, and as one of these can fly ABOVE the lower ceiling set by CASA, this would not be a good idea.

As for commercial use, this is also gray depending upon whether you have been hired to do a job with one, or are punting on making some money "in the future" from the current usage. I am told that CASA has relaxed its rules in this area due to the sheer proliferation of these types of devices. I am attempting to clarify this further.

Editor's Note on Editor's Note

Here is the email answer I received from CASA on this subject (in full)

Info here on the regulation of remotely piloted aircraft:

In short if you use them for commercial purposes you must have an approval from CASA.

This is the key bit:

  • Approved for operations over unpopulated areas up to 400ft AGL (above ground level), or higher with special approvals.
  • Special approvals are also required for other areas.
  • Operations are not permitted in controlled airspace without CASA approval and coordination with Airservices Australia.

Main message is if you use them commercially or for wny work purpose they must be approved by CASA.  Private use does not need CASA approval but is subject to the relevant restrictions such as away from other aircraft and aerodromes, not over built up areas and below 400ft.


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David is the owner and publisher of Australian Videocamera. He has a background in media dating back to 1979 when he first got involved with photojournalism in motorsport, and went from there into technology via a 5 year stint with Tandy Computers.

Moving back to WA, David wrote scripts for Computer Television for video training for the just released Windows and Office 95 among others, and was then lured to Sydney to create web sites for the newly commercial Internet in 1995, building hundreds of sites under contract to OzEmail including Coates Hire, Hertz Queensland, John Williamson, the NSW Board of Studies and many, many more.

David can be contacted via  [email protected]


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