Hand-launched LA100 UAV flyer helps amateur pilots capture spectacular aerial images and video
posted Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:43 PM EDT
We've written about drone quadrocopters and octocopters for capturing amazing aerial footage before but those unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are really designed to be piloted from the ground by experts. Now here's a fully automated glider-like drone made for amateurs to easily shoot aerial images or video.
Called the LA100, and created by France's Lehmann Aviation, the flyer may look like a Cylon Raider from Battlestar Galactica but it's designed to be unintimidating. The LA100 has been built, specifically, to carry a GoPro Hero3 camera on the top or bottom wing to shoot aerial footage. It can also fly with up two GoPros at the same time.
To prevent this UAV from going astray, the LA100 follows a pre-programmed flight path, which returns to the original launch site for a horizontal landing. Or in other words, you can send this bird into the heavens where it will reach a maximum height of over 300 feet while shooting stills or HD video, and then it will circle back to you like a trained eagle or hawk. There's no way to override the LA100's planned flight pattern, which might frustrate more advanced UAV pilots, but makes it plug-and-play simple for beginners.
The LA100 can fly at speeds of up to 50 mph for up to five minutes. It has a range of up to 0.3 miles and can fly in winds of up to 28 mph and temperatures between -13° F to 140° F. The LA100 is made mostly of foam and carbon fiber and weighs around 30 ounces with the GoPro camera attached.
The LA100 was slated to go on sale this month for US$1,275. (You must purchase the GoPro separately.) Check out the below demonstration video. More videos of footage a captured with the LA100 on Lehmann Aviation's Facebook page.