Carbon Fiber Drone Looks Like A Tough Paper Airplane

In everything but material, Carbon Flyer is a fancy paper airplane. With two propellers and a Bluetooth controller, it’s a lot like the PowerUp 3.0 remote control paper airplane the FAA strangely approved as a drone. Instead of a body built from looseleaf, the plane’s structure is carbon fiber, giving it a rigidity and strength that paper lacks. In addition, it has a camera and lights, making it far more drone than its folded-sheet appearance suggests.

In January, the Carbon Flyer surpassed its IndieGogo crowdfunding goal by 637 percent. Last month, they sent their prototype plane to the factory The airplane is controlled by an app on either an iPhone or an Android, and with Bluetooth 4 it can be controlled up to 240 feet away from the pilot. That’s less distance than it sounds – a pilot in one end zone of a football field could steer the plane almost to the opposing 20 yard line, but to retain control, the plane would probably have to turn back sooner so the signal isn’t lost.

As a toy, the Carbon Flyer seems like a lot of fun. As a remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle, capable of recording video, it straddles the very edge of what counts as a toy.