In my last article, I explained how I used a mini-quadcopter as the basis for a DIY hovercraft. My inspiration for that project was the Tiny Whoov, a hovercraft built around the Blade Inductrix. Blade sells their own hovercraft adaptation, called the Inductrix Switch. Just recently, Blade released yet another new vehicle based on the Inductrix frame, the Inductrix Switch Air.
The Inductrix Switch Air introduces a set of wings to the quadcopter frame. A few simple transformation steps allow you to fly this machine as a pure quad or as an airplane/quad hybrid. Furthermore, the quadcopter components can be snapped into the hovercraft hull of the Switch. This makes the Inductrix Switch Air a sort of 3-in-1 flying machine.
About the Inductrix Switch Air
First things first: "Inductrix Switch Air" is a mouthful. So I'll just call it the "Air" in this article. Blade offers the Air in two variants. The Ready-to-Fly (RTF) model ($60) includes everything needed to get this machine in the sky. If you already own a compatible Spektrum transmitter, you can save a ten bucks by going with the Bind-N-Fly (BNF) version ($50).
I have the RTF model. The included 2.4GHz transmitter is considerably smaller than a standard RC transmitter, but it is still large enough for my adult hands to hold and use comfortably. The package also includes four AA-size alkaline batteries to power the radio.
There are features within the transmitter that belie its outward minimalist appearance. The quad's onboard flight controller (FC) has separate flight modes for each form of the vehicle (quad/wing/hovercraft). These modes define how the vehicle responds to control inputs. They are selected by moving the control sticks to specific positions before arming the motors. A multi-colored LED on the FC indicates which mode is selected. Additional options within each flight mode are chosen by pressing inward (axially) on the right control stick. An inward push on the left control stick toggles motor arming.