The Parrot Swing is a fully capable quadcopter that features an airplane mode, allowing this X-Wing look-alike to zip around, do barrel rolls, and loops, bringing a whole new flying experience for drone pilots. We love it, and you will, too.
- Excellent handling
- Airplane mode is a blast
- Beautiful stunts
- Includes Parrot Flypad
- Relatively cheap
- Struggles in heavy breezes
- Might be a little too much for beginners
Parrot Swing Review
The Parrot Swing (manufacturer’s website) is a wild new drone that combines the ultra-stable flight characteristics of a Parrot MiniDrone with the flight capabilities of a fixed-wing RC plane. Equipped with the same sensors that keep Parrot MiniDrones from flying away or acting unpredictably, the Swing delivers a fantastic, easy to fly experience in both quadcopter and plane mode.
The Parrot Swing comes bundled with the Parrot Flypad, a purpose-built, relatively inexpensive Bluetooth controller with two analog sticks, triggers, and extended range. It is much more precise than the Parrot FreeFlight Mini’s digital touch controls, and adds buttons for the four included stunts: left and right barrel rolls, loops, and a quick-reverse that stops the Swing on a dime and reverses course, allowing you to fly full-speed at a wall and stop just before you hit it (not recommended for anyone but advanced flyers.)
The included 550mAh battery is the same as any other Parrot MiniDrone, and is interchangeable. The Swing comes with a USB cable for charging both the drone and the Flypad. Additional batteries can be purchased and swapped out in the Swing, but the Flypad has a fixed rechargeable battery. Our experience is that it has extremely long battery life. Overall, we like the Flypad better than any other off-the-shelf Bluetooth controller. Here’s our unboxing video of the Flypad for reference:
The Parrot Swing looks like a Star War’s X-Wing fighter, featuring four foam wings for flight. Four motors adapted from the Parrot Mambo provide propulsion, and are angled in a way that all maneuverability is delivered by the on-board flight controller adjusting speed of each engine independently. There are no control surfaces like rudders or flaps on the wings. Regardless, the Swing is a VERY responsive aircraft in either quadcopter or airplane mode. Altitude hold works extremely well in either mode, even while performing barrel rolls, which otherwise would need precise inputs from a pilot on a traditional non-intelligent aircraft.
During our life test, which you can see at the top of this article, we take off from a vertical position, using the same auto-takeoff button that you would use on the Parrot Mambo. From there, it controls just like a quadcopter, with the ability to adjust altitude, yaw, roll, and pitch. There are three variable settings for airplane mode, each with a more aggressive angle of attack, allowing the Swing to fly faster and faster. It is important to note that in plane mode the Swing is continually moving forward, just like a real plane, but a single button click on the Flypad will stop it in its tracks and hold its position and altitude. If the three speed settings aren’t enough for you, pushing the right stick up will enable a “Turbo” mode that gives the Swing an extra boost. It’s a helluva lot of fun to fly at full speed. Unlike other MiniDrones, the Swing is able to execute on its stunts while moving forward, but only in plane mode. This means that you’ll be doing loops, rolls, and switch-backs all “on the fly” – which is quite a sight to behold. In fact, we have a flight video here that demonstrates its abilities quite well, including all stunt modes, and is filmed from a DJI Phantom 3 Standard, Parrot Bebop, and a ground camera at the same time.
While we whole-heartedly recommend the Parrot Swing as an excellent, inexpensive drone that doesn’t need to be registered with the FAA, delivers a completely different flying experience, and is ultra-stable, its speed in airplane mode would caution you about purchasing this for younger flyers. Parrot says the drone is for 14+, but we think an experienced 12 year old could get the hang of it. If you’re looking for a superior drone for beginners and kids, we’d recommend the Parrot Mambo first, and then add the Swing later. Just don’t buy the Flypad separately, unless you need two controllers – the bundled Flypad with the Swing will work with both drones, and the Mambo doesn’t come with one.
All in all, we commend Parrot for this design. We loved its performance. It never once flew like it was a cheap drone, it flew straight when we wanted it to, and executed beautiful stunts when commanded to do so. The only downside is that the drone doesn’t do as well in windy or very breezy situations, due to its large, flat surfaces, but that negative is greatly outweighed by the overall experience we had.