“My OnAGoFly Drone doesn’t fly!”
It’s a question that’s been floating around the internet ever since the IndieGoGo crowdfunding started.
Difference: The OnAGoFly is currently in production, and people are receiving them (albeit that it may take up to 5 months to actually see the drone in your hands).
There’s not a lot of videos on YouTube yet by consumers. Those that are there, come from two different camps:
- Those that seem to be able to fly the drone with no issues
- People that have had nothing but headache and horror with the drone
So what is it really?
First of all, the OnAGoFly is flown solely from an app that you download to your iOS or Android device. The drone relies on it’s wifi hardware maintaining a link to your phone at all times for commands.
ISSUE #1: There is no alternative way to fly the drone.
There is no joystick controller. You ONLY can fly the drone with a phone or tablet.
ISSUE #2: The app is unstable on many, MANY devices.
It’s almost as though the ONAGOFLY team did no real-world testing of the app. My suspicion is that they were under heavy fire from the backers in getting the drones out on time that they didn’t do diligence in quality control and testing.
People are reporting that the app seems to be unstable on Samsung Android products in General. There have been no reports of issues on HTC, Motorla and other phones running Android 5.0 or higher.
iOS users are reporting that the app does not work on iPhone 4 and 5 series, and only marginal success on the 6 series, depending on what iOS software version the phone is running.
In my experience, I found that Samsung products (Galaxy S3, S4, Tab3) do not play nice with the OnAGoFly App. The app appears stable when the drone is on the ground and locked mode is active. As soon as you turn off the lock mode (flight ready mode where the propellers are spinning), the app will crash at some point. Sometimes it’s right away, other times it waits until the OnAGoFly Drone is in the air.
On the iOS 4 the app just crashes as soon as the drone takes off. The iOS 5 will keep the app open for up to three minutes before crashing.
On my friend’s iOS 6, we successfully flew the drone twice for 10 minutes each time, but on the third time, the app crashed and the drone wizzed off on us for over 200 yards in a field (story about this below).
Trying the iOS 6 again, the app crashed twice more out of three more tries.
The only phones that (I have tested on) the drone app has stayed on successfully from start to finish is the Motorola E and the HTC sense.
Issue #3: The Drone Does Fly… When The App Works Correctly, but there’s no Safety Features!
There is a huge issue with the app freezing on even the phones that it does run on most of the time. While many apps you might download freeze, this is a critical issue if your drone is in the air. There is no way to get your drone out of the sky, and moreover, what if the drone is headed straight for the road, or worse, a small child unaware of what is now a small missle headed toward the out of control?
The drone lacks any safety features should the app crash. It does not return to home, nor does it just land itself. It only does what the last command from the app told it to do, and you’re left standing there helplessly watching your drone fly off.
My Experience with the OnAGoFly App crashing #1:
The OnAGoFly Drone was about 20 feet up when the App Crashed on my friend’s iPhone 6 Plus. It was flying southwest in a large empty field. Thank God there was no one around and no obstructions, but the drone kept of flying after the app crashed for over 200 yards, until the battery gave out and it crashed.
I was still about 100 yards away, and it took me damn near two hours to locate the drone in the tall grasses.
My Experience with the OnAGoFly App crashing #2:
The OnAGoFly Drone was aloft again this time. We were at a park near my house. The kids were playing on the play equipment, and my daughter in paticular was swinging on the swing.
I was about 150 yards from the play equipment, and was still trying to get the drone aloft (more about this in a moment). The one time it did fly, the App, as you might guess, crashed again.
This time, to my horror, the drone was speeding off toward the play equipment! As I was sprinting after it, I realized that it was headed straight for the swingset where my daughter was swinging!
The drone missed her face by only 3-6 inches. It ended up colliding with the swing’s chain and bouncing off away from my daughter.
Had she been hurt IN ANY WAY, you could be sure that I’d be finding a lawyer to SUE ONAGOFLY for not having a failsafe or kill command built into the drone.
Here’s the thing that’s key, and what most OnAGoFly Drone Owners are Missing:
Drones that are flown via joystick remote controls do not have this issue. The controllers do not just crash. If anything, the batteries might go dead if you don’t do your pre-flight check, and if that’s the case, the fault is yours anyway.
On an app-flown drone, you cannot physically prevent the app from crashing. It is not something you can check on your “preflight” check. When the app crashes, it just happens, or could be considered for insurance purposes, “an act of God.”
Drones that are flown by joystick controller, can be voluntarily forced to land/crash if there is immediate and impending danger of physical harm to a human.
The OnAGoFly Drone, which is flown solely via the App, are different. When the app crashes, or there’s a glitch in the WiFi (packet data appears to be UDP only) the OnAGoFly Drone does not have either a failsafe or kill function for connectivity loss. At the very least, since it has GPS, it should return to home, and at the bare minimum, land itself whereever it’s at immediately.
What the OnAGoFly Drone does if it loses connection for any reason:
First of all, when the app crashes, on your phone, the app goes back to the default splash screen, or closes down completely. It takes a minimum of 5-10 seconds for the app to restart.
During this time, the OnAGoFly that’s still in the air, is fully uncontrolled. This means YOU HAVE ZERO CONTROL OVER YOUR DRONE, and are 100% liable for any damage or bodily harm it may do even though it’s out of your control!
I think I’ve said it enough, there NEEDS to be a safety feature that will either land or return the OnAGoFly back to it’s point of takeoff if it loses connection.
The Lack of safety features on the ONAGOFLY alone makes it NOT FLIGHT WORTHY unless you’re in a field, and there’s no people, cars or object within 500-700 yards.
I don’t want a lawsuit on my hands.
Issue #4: Obstacle Avoidance System is USELESS
I’m not even sure this works at all. the only time the drone seemed to avoid anything was when it was just hovering and I’d put my hand up in front of it.
The OnAGoFly did not sense my hand until I was within six inches of the drone.
The Drone also flies full title into trees and buildings as if it didn’t have obstacle avoidance at all.
The obstacle avoidance system should have a variable sensing range: the faster the drone is going, the further out it should “see” and be able to react accordingly.
For instance, when it was speeding full tilt, and out of control towards my daughter, the obstacle avoidance should have picked her up at 20 feet out and made a course correction to at least drive the drone into the ground rather than have the possibility of taking her head off.
If the drone is moving slowly, perhaps it should only sense objects two to four feet out. Either way, there should be a lot better avoidance, especially when the app fails and you have no control.