Parrot’s fixed wing Disco drone takes flight next month for $1,300

Half a year after debuting a prototype at CES, Parrot’s finally ready to show off the final version of its next radical entry in the rapidly expanding drone space. The Disco marks a noted departure from both the French company’s earlier effort sand the consumer drone space in general, trading in the standard rotored configuration for a fixed wing variety designed to soar speeds up to 50 miles an hour for as long as 45 minutes.

The drone’s hardware hasn’t changed al that much since we first caught a glimpse back in January. The Disco weighs around 1.6 pounds and is constructed largely of a flexible, rugged foam. The single rear propeller does the heavy lifting, and inside you’ll find a slew of on-board sensors, including GPS/GLONASS, a barometer, magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer. There’s also a built-in 14-megapixel wide-angle lens with, naturally, digital stabilization.

One of the more interesting new additions is the goofily named C.H.U.C.K – that’s Control Hub & Universal Computer Kit. The system is designed to assist first time pilots, and help the drone take flight when tossed into the air, grabbing ahold of the system and circling around in the sky until it’s time for the pilot to take charge. At that point ole C.H.U.C.K takes a back seat, but continues to assist, helping keep things in check.

Two more key additions are worth noting here. First are the Cockpitglasses, a sort of Gear VR/Google Cardboard deal that works with an iPhone or Android handset, turning the Disco into a FPV system, so the users can get a view from the drone’s camera while it’s in flight, along with some real-time flight metrics via a textual overlay.

The Parrot Skycontroller 2, meanwhile, features dual joysticks and a series of customizable buttons for taking control of the drone via WiFi. All of that will run $1,300 when it launches next month.