The frame arms can be folded for
easier storage and transport.
direction its nose is pointing.
In Headless Mode, pushing the right
stick forward will cause the FORM500
to translate away from you, regardless
of which way the quadcopter’s nose is
pointing. Headless Mode can be a useful
safety net if you lose in-flight visual
orientation of the aircraft.
The transmitter switches are
not marked, so make sure that you
familiarize yourself with all of the switch
positions and their functions before
you fly. Accidentally engaging RTH or
Headless Mode could be scary. I used
a silver Sharpie marker to denote the
switch functions on my transmitter.
It is important to calibrate the sensor
and compass before your first flight. I
made sure to complete these steps as
outlined in the manual, and I balanced
the self-tightening propellers before
installing them on the motors.
Flying the FORM500
I didn’t have any trouble flying the
FORM500. It responded well to control
inputs and was stable in a hands-off
hover. The Tactic TTX810 transmitter
has one dual-rate switch that affects
pitch, roll, and yaw authority. The
high and low rates are preset to 100%
and 60%, respectively, and cannot be
adjusted, but I think these values work
well for the FORM500.
The quadcopter is docile on low rates.
High rates provide a hint of speed and
aggressive maneuverability. It might not
have enough agility to satisfy sport fliers
looking for a thrill, but remember that
the FORM500 is a “utility drone,” not a
Although I liked the way that the
FORM500 flew with the default flight
controller settings, it wasn’t as precise
as I would have liked, particularly in its
ability to hold a steady altitude. I wanted
to tinker with it to see if I could improve
The quadcopter includes a USB
interface cable that allows you to
configure the flight controller via a
downloadable PC program. The manual
does a good job of explaining the effect
of changing each of the parameters. I’m
still experimenting to get the controller
tuned the way that I like it, but I’m
enjoying the process.
Without any payload attached, I have
achieved flight times of approximately
11 minutes. That duration decreases as
you add weight to the FORM500 with
The quadcopter automatically goes
into RTH mode when the battery
reaches its low-voltage threshold (as
defined in the PC program). This
happens without warning, and there is
no way to disengage after the automatic
To help prevent this situation, I
attached a small, independent battery
alarm that connects to the battery’s
balance plug. It is set to sound at a
higher voltage than the RTH trigger,
giving me plenty of warning so I can end
the flight normally.
So, what can you do with a utility
drone? The answer is up to you. Aerial
photography is one obvious application.
The FORM500 comes with a static
mount and housing for a GoPro camera,
which fit my GoPro HERO3 without
any problems. Even with balanced
propellers and the camera mount’s
rubber vibration isolators, there is still
Model type: RTF utility quadcopter
Size: 19. 7 inches (500mm)
Weight: 42. 3 ounces ( 2. 64 pounds)
Radio system: Tactic T TX810 eight-channel
2. 4 GHz transmitter; TR825
Power system: Four outrunner brushless
motors; 12 x 4. 5 propellers;
10-amp ESCs; FlightPower
3S 5,000 mAh 25C LiPo
battery; Duratrax Li- 24
charger (all included)
Needed to Four AA batteries for the
flying area: Club field
Duration: 11 minutes without payload
• Adjustable flight performance.
• Mounting rails accommodate various
• Small footprint with folding arms.
• Engages automatic RTH before there is a
• Loose battery-mounting system.
AT A GLANCE ...
59 Model Aviation JULY 2016