Pilot Your Drone With A One-Handed Magic Wand
BY Alan Perlman15 December 2015
Folks, what a world we live in!
I never thought I’d be both a drone operator and a wizard at the same time.
Before I get into my experience with the one-handed Typhoon Wizard remote, let’s talk a little bit about Yuneec, its magical maker.
Haven’t heard of Yuneec before?
Get with it. A pioneer in electric aviation, Yuneec has been around since 1999 and holds hundreds of patents. They also manufacture more than one million units per year.
Next to drone powerhouse manufacturers like DJI, 3D Robotics, and Parrot, Yuneec holds a top position in the UAV industry and continues to impress me with their product innovations (and their quick-to-pick-up Flight Team Extra Support phone line).
Yuneec’s latest accessory, the Typhoon Wizard, is a (magical) one-handed drone transmitter, compatible with any of their Typhoon drone models:
Why did Yuneec choose to build a one-handed remote?
Is the traditional double joystick transmitter the most efficient way for beginners to learn how to fly a multirotor, or even for more advanced photographers and videographers to safely capture high-quality footage?
I love this quote from Sally French over at Drone Girl:
All too frequently, the concept of flying a drone with the two joysticks has users simultaneously doing something of the essence of patting their heads and rubbing their stomachs — and consequently crashing into a tree.
It’s interesting. When I first looked at the Wizard drone remote, I thought that it wouldn’t have that much horsepower. A glorified Wii remote, if you will. More of a toy, and less of a real tool. Much harder to fly than a traditional transmitter.
Turns out I was wrong.
The Wizard provides about 90% of the functionality you’d find in the native Typhoon ST10 transmitter, the one that comes included with any of the three Typhoon models mentioned above. Changing flight modes, starting or stopping motors, and flying manually are all accessible with the Typhoon Wizard.
It’s actually pretty intuitive to fly, and in many instances I could see why someone would prefer the one-handed Wizard over the two-handed ST10.
Getting Started with the Typhoon Wizard
One of the first things you’ll see when you open the box is a small yellow sticker that says:
Visit http://www.yuneec.com/wiz-info.html before using the Typhoon Wizard.
On that page you’ll find video instructions that show how to calibrate the Wizard remote and how to bind it with your Typhoon drone. It only takes a few minutes, but it’s really important you know what you’re doing (and why you’re doing it) here.
Let’s go over two key functions:
This function enables the Typhoon aircraft camera to keep its eye fixed directly at the Wizard remote at all times. If you’re moving around with the Wizard remote strapped to your arm or clipped to your shirt or shorts, the camera will automatically follow you.
“Watch Me” is a default option when you turn the remote on in Smart mode for the first time.
In this mode, unless there’s any extra operation being done on the Wizard remote, the aircraft will automatically follow the movement of the remote itself. If you are running (or surfing, skateboarding, driving, biking, etc.) away from the aircraft, THE AIRCRAFT WILL FOLLOW YOU.
Hat tip to the AerialEra crew for putting this video together.
In this mode, height-tracking also kicks in, ensuring the Typhoon drone follows users as their altitude changes.
Flyers beware. ‘Fly aways’ are not covered under warranty. Don’t get cocky. Fly smart and map out your sequences ahead of time to minimize the time you’re flying in any automated mode.
Using the Typhoon Wizard Controls
I promise this won’t turn into a how-to article.
Yuneec’s support videos and documentation make operations pretty straightforward.
For those of you interested though, here’s what the Wizard remote looks like close up.
Smart Directional Controls
Changing the angle of how the remote is oriented is equivalent to using the left or right joysticks on the regular ST10 transmitter.
When the remote is oriented vertically (from 40° to 90°), the arrows control your throttle and yaw.
And when the remote is oriented horizontally (from 0° to 40°), the arrows control your pitch and roll.
Need a refresher of multirotor flight orientation terminology? Check out our how to fly a quadcopter guide.
Should you buy the Typhoon Wizard remote?
Reasonably priced, the Typhoon Wizard is the perfect accessory for the Yuneec drone operator, either at the beginner or advanced level.
In particular, if you’re doing any kind of cinematography or action sport photography / videography where a lot of movement is required, the Typhoon Wizard makes subject-tracking pretty seamless.
Dronegardium leviosa, folks.
Two thumbs up from UAV Coach.