Best Fat Shark 101 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020:
Renowned for its FPV glasses which equip a large number of confirmed quadrotor pilots. Fat Shark also offers its complete Fat Shark 101 kit, ready to use and designed for beginners.
The Fat Shark 101 consists of three main elements: the Shark drone, the FPV Recon mask and the specific Fat Shark radio control. In addition, there are 2 batteries with a USB charger, 2 pairs of propellers and 2 spare motors, as well as 2 flexible rings with their support to create a small race course.
The Fat Shark 101 of this test was loaned to us by StudioSport , which we thank in passing.
Best Fat Shark 101 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2020
The small quadrotor of Fat Shark 101 stands out from its competitors at first sight. With its shark-like appearance, it is unlike any other. Point of plastic chassis to give it this shape, it is directly the printed circuit of the drone which takes the lines of the animal, dorsal and caudal fins included. Fins which obviously do not serve much aerodynamic purpose (a quadrotor does not fly like an airplane), except perhaps to stabilize the drone a little more – we will come back to this when we talk about its flight behavior – but integrate the antennas for radio links with the mask and the radio control.
This main circuit is welded to a multilayer plate which acts as a chassis and incorporates tracks going up to the motors to replace the wiring. The only cable is actually the power cable, since the connector must remain free to be connected to the battery. An integrated connector would have been more elegant, but the solution chosen offers the advantage of being able to recharge the battery without unclipping it from the drone.
The finishes are in any case neat, and only the flexible plastic protection covering the electronic components of the main circuit clashes a little. Indeed, double-sided foam adhesives do not necessarily hold up very well over time.
However, there is the question of the maintenance of all this. Indeed, if Fat Shark 101 has the good idea to provide 2 backup motors, it will necessarily be necessary to take out a precision soldering iron to change them, for lack of a simple connector to connect them. Likewise, integrating tracks into the chassis rather than using cables means that it will not be possible to easily change the frame in the event of an arm breakage, for example. The device certainly looks solid enough, but since it is designed for beginners, it must be robust enough to withstand the many crashes that it will inevitably have to undergo.
As such, if the camera is well protected, this is not necessarily the case for propellers. Indeed, the hulls used in principle to protect them are positioned a little below and not really around. Consequence: they rub easily in the event of contact with objects, plants… and break quickly. Fat Shark could have provided more resistant ones and, above all, provided for truly protective hulls. As it stands, we recommend avoiding theft in accommodation with fragile furniture and decoration. Especially if the Shark remains light in absolute terms, its 63 g (including 16 g battery, plus 6.2 g with the hulls) does not make it a harmless mini-drone; less in any case than a Tiny Whoop type such as the Eachine QX65 , also designed for beginners.
With the equipment on and pairing done, all that remains is to lower the right switch on the radio control to arm the engines, before pushing the gas to take off. To start, it is better to stay in beginner mode (equivalent to “angle” mode in BetaFlight). That is to say with the left switch in the highest position, synonymous with stabilization and relatively soft controls. Enough to familiarize yourself with piloting with a device that automatically finds its plate when you release the right stick.
Be careful however, although it is indeed a drone for beginners, the Shark does not keep its position, unlike devices like the Parrot Mambo or the Ryze Tello. The use is not the same, we expect here to be able to truly indulge in drone racing, even freestyle, which the aforementioned devices are incapable of (even with its assistance disabled, the Mambo keeps stabilization and does not offer full control).
If you have never touched such a device in your life, Fat Shark recommends to start by training on a simulator, offering a download code to your home software. Once the basics are acquired, the Shark can still be used with a small string provided if you prefer to ensure that it will not sink straight into the TV or the neighbor’s pool, for example. However, be careful, in the event of a crash, the motors continue to run and you must therefore disarm manually. Fortunately, in the event of a loss of signal, on the other hand, the failsafe system works and triggers their immediate shutdown.
In beginner mode, the quad is quite flexible. We feel that it is not very powerful and we have a little the impression of making a shark swim in the air, insofar as we feel the inertia of the device. Take care when cornering. It is in any case not with this machine. That we will recommend indoor flights, contrary to what we could write on the Eachine QX65 . With the Fat Shark 101, it is therefore better to plan space and fly. For example, in a gymnasium or outright outdoors.
Once control in beginner mode mastered, you can switch the left switch to the middle position to switch to intermediate mode, equivalent to a so-called “acro” mode, but still with softened controls and limited speed. It is only once the good reflexes have been acquired that we can switch to pro mode, switch in the lowest position, to take advantage of the full potential of the quadrotor of this Fat Shark 101 kit. We can then perform aerial figures , all assistance being cut off.
Despite a significant wind, that the power of the engines struggles to compensate, the drone follows its trajectory and we easily start to push the gas to gain speed and height, before trying some acrobatics. If Fat Shark has the good idea to provide two rings to act as passage gates (called “airgates” in the middle of FPV Racing) in speed races, the obstacle course is not his strong point and he you have to anticipate a bit for the tightest turns; perhaps the flip side with such a profile.
As with all mini-drones, we discuss here the quality of the video return and not that of the image itself. Since these devices are not designed to take aerial shots. No need to wait for a very defined image, therefore, but it must be clean and contrasted enough for the video feedback provided to the pilot to be comfortable and precise. Better definition is always desirable, but signal stability and transmission latency take precedence.
The quadrotor of this Fat Shark 101 kit here provides analog video quality and therefore necessarily with a limited definition. But in favor of very low latency, essential for precise and fast piloting. The colors are nevertheless good and the exposure well managed. Where the rub is, it is at the level of the transmission range, very weak. Perhaps it would have been necessary to integrate conventional antennas on the device. The fact remains that the range suffers and cannot exceed thirty meters, or even much less indoors because of the partitions. Too bad, but not frankly worse than a Tello or a Mambo ultimately. Small Tiny Whoop like those we tested paradoxically do much better on this point.
The Fat Shark 101 is supplied with two Li-HV 2S 7.6 V 260 mAh batteries. We can only advise too much the purchase of other units. Since with barely 4 minutes of autonomy for 1h15 of charge, the pleasure is short-lived! The display changes to black and white in the mask when it is time to land to recharge, which is very useful.
Nothing abnormal however for this type of aircraft, it is rare to exceed 5 to 6 minutes of flight. But this is why the possibility of quickly changing the battery is important. We therefore regret here all the more their format imposed by the nacelle clipping under the drone. Count 20 € the set of two batteries at the time of writing.
- Complete kit and ready to use.
- Good quality of the different elements.
- Design and finish of the drone.
- Can fly outdoors.
- Acro flight modes.
- Simulator for training.
- Range too short.
- Low autonomy.
- A certain inertia in driving, especially when cornering.
- Design that hardly forgives breakage.
- Propellers not well enough protected to fly indoors.
Complete and interesting for a first piloting experience, the Fat Shark 101 kit is a good entry point into the world of immersion flight if you are looking for a ready-to-use solution. However, it suffers from too short a range and is unfortunately not suitable for flying in tight spaces. We will therefore prefer materials chosen individually if we are not afraid to tinker a little and manually configure such a drone / radio / FPV display unit.
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