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DJI's New Heavy-Load Drone Comes With Retractable Landing Gear

Most people are familiar with DJI as the manufacturers of the Phantom series, one of the most popular consumer drones on the market. The company is continuing to expand its horizons into the pro market with the new Spreading Wings S900. This professional-grade drone not only looks cool. It also sort of works like a Transformer.


The S900 is basically completely collapsible. The drone's six carbon fiber arms fold down for storage, and the landing gear retracts during flight, so that the aircraft is streamlined at all times. (This also keeps the landing gear out of the camera's line of sight.) DJI also pulled off a tough task by making the drone lighter than its predecessor, the S800, while increasing the payload capacity to over 10 pounds. That makes it robust enough to haul a Canon 5D, but light enough to carry with one hand.

DJI hasn't announced the price point, yet, but you can expect it won't be cheap. Comparable drones with retractable landing gear sell for about $4,000. (Pro tip: You can buy a conversion kit to give your drone retractable landing gear for much less.) However, since DJI also recently announced an automatic parachute for its professional drones, at least you won't have to worry as much about the cost of crashes. [DJI via Slashgear]

Illustration for article titled DJIs New Heavy-Load Drone Comes With Retractable Landing Gear

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As someone who has been utilizing drones for 5+ years for research I see very little value in having retractable gear for flight on a multicopter. I doubt there is that much gain being that you generally aren't flying these things at full speed when filming or taking photos. I'd much rather have the landing skids always down as they give some protection to the expensive camera gear in the event of a malfunction during flight.