a routine crash is unlikely to
break anything on either side of
Another benefit of micro
quads is that they can be flown
inside your house. This is
doubly true for the itsy-bitsy
Proto N. An average-size living
room is like a wide-open prairie
to this little aircraft.
The manual does a decent job
of explaining how the controls
work. In addition to the radio’s
two joysticks and trim levers,
there are two buttons on the
top. The left one allows you to
choose between three control
sensitivity settings, and the right
button is used to make the
Proto N perform aerobatics.
I was surprised by how docile
this little quadcopter could be.
New fliers might find it slightly
touchy at first, but I suspect
that most people will quickly
get the hang of it. Stepping
up to the higher control
levels gives you noticeably
more control authority. I can make the Proto N zip to the
extremes of my living room on the middle control setting. I
generally reserve the highest setting for outdoor flights.
After pressing the flip button, the Proto N will execute
a tumble in whatever direction you move the right control
stick. Don’t blink because it happens fast. The quad resumes
a stable hover as soon as the flip is complete. It’s a fun
In-flight orientation is often a concern with quadcopters.
This problem is exaggerated by the Proto N’s tiny stature
and solid-colored body. Although the different-colored
propellers help distinguishing front from rear, the best visual
cues are the LED lights positioned at each corner of the
The lights (blue in the front, red in the rear) are even
visible in daylight. The only problem is that their location
makes them difficult to see in some orientations, so keeping
track of the little aircraft can be challenging. Indoor flying
isn’t much of an issue, but you’ll want to keep the Proto N
close by if you fly it outdoors.
My flights have been averaging 4 minutes each. Those
flights typically involve precision hovering, some fast
translation, and a handful of zoom climbs and flips. Your
flight times will vary depending on your flying style. It takes
slightly more than 30 minutes to recharge the battery.
The Estes Proto N is a fun, inexpensive little flying
machine at $34.99. It is ideal for people who are ready to try
multirotors for the first time.
Learning is stress free when there is almost no risk of
damaging anything. The flying skills learned on the Proto N
will directly translate when you decide to step into larger
and more complex multirotors.
The Proto N is also good for honing your flying chops
when weather keeps you indoors. Need to practice spot
landings? Try setting the little quad down on top of a soda
can. It’s good practice and good fun!
Hobbico: 3002 N. Apollo Dr., Ste. #1; Champaign IL 61822;
Tel.: (800) 637-6050; website: www.estesrockets.com
17 Model Aviation MAY 2016