I feel compelled to share my less than impressive experience with this product after my first three test fights with the Aero-M mapping UAV. This is actually my second unit, sent to me as a replacement to my original Aero-M which I crashed on three of my four take-off attempts several months ago. The damage to the nose section was so severe on the last crash that it was irreparable and I ended up sending it back. Low and behold, however, this new replacement Aero-M has EXACTLY the same flight performance issues as my first one! It's all indicative of an inherent issue with this airframe's design...
Here is what's been happening: The Aero-M has a nasty tendency to nose-dive on takeoffs (the most critical part of any flight). And it doesn't matter if you apply a LOT of up elevator trim, or use different flight modes. It doesn't seem to make a heck of a lot difference. I tried taking off in Manual, Stabilize and FBWA modes with the same results. The only two reasons why I managed not to crash my new replacement Aero-M today were a) my 27 years of RC flying experience and b) my still quick reflexes to move my launching hand down to the elevator stick on the RC transmitter within a split second of letting go of the plane on launch to quickly apply up elevator to save it from hitting the ground. But the issues don't stop here, unfortunately.
I expected this unit to be well trimmed "out of the box" because, after all, it's marketing as a RTF (Ready To Fly) UAV. This is not the case. Despite being balanced, as per the manual's diagram of the CG location, the Aero-M continued to want to fly downwards at various throttle settings. I had to trim the elevator to maximum up trim to get it to improve. But then it began behaving as if it were tail heavy, flying this roller coaster pattern throughout the sky. When I saw this, I didn't know what to think (too nose heavy? too tail heavy?). It also had a tendency to keep veering to the right, requiring quite a bit of left aileron trim to straighten out. I will have to do more flight tests now to figure out where the CG actually needs to be. Not something I was planning on when I purchased it...
I also tried my first mapping mission, which was also a bit of a disaster. I set up a small polygon with just four passes to check the camera. I don't know if I set the polygon too small in size (it was roughly 200m x 200m in size), but the Aero-M had a ton of trouble properly lining up for the waypoints, and tracking them in a straight line. The about-turns at the ends of the passes were also way too wide, putting the plane out of position of the next waypoint. I had a 70m length set up for the turns at the ends of each pass.
Finally, the UV filter that is supposed to be protecting the camera's lens during mapping causes the images to be unusable for real mapping work because it causes a reflection in the imagery. It's a lot like when you try to take a picture of something through a glass. It doesn't work. For mapping, the UV filter must be removed so that there is nothing in the way of the camera's lens and the objects on the ground. Yes, the camera lens can potentially get scratched or dusty, but I can tell you from my professional experience mapping tens of thousands of acres of fields every season that it's not that serious a problem. We have used the same Canon SX260 cameras for our work for two seasons now, and they still produces excellent quality imagery.
I wish I had something more positive to say about the Aero-M, but unfortunately we cannot use it, as is, for the very purpose for which we had purchased it - aerial mapping.