The JYU Hornet S is a 280mm sized brushless quadcopter.
Its unique modular design means you can easily remove or add a camera, 2-axis gimbal or other accessories almost instantly.
This sweet camera drone is customizable in a lot of ways that many other drones aren’t. In this review, we’ll be going over all of these features in-depth. Let’s get to it!
Flight Modes & GPS Lock
The JYU Hornet S is a very versatile drone, capable of very smooth and stable or very fast and speedy flights, depending on which flight mode you have it in. These are the three Hornet S flight modes:
- GPS 1: The slowest/most stable flight mode using GPS lock. Extremely slow and good for beginners.
- GPS 2: Still connected to GPS, this mode is just as stable as GPS 1, but slightly faster.
- Manual: No GPS lock. Not as stable but much faster. There is still an angle restriction and it self-levels, so this is different from “acro” mode. By far the fastest mode of the three.
Each mode has their own distinct personality and really allows you to fly the quadcopter to suit your own personal needs.
Are you a beginner just learning how to fly drones for the first time? Go with GPS mode 1. An intermediate pilot looking to fly around and take some stable video footage? GPS 2.
Or maybe you’re just a speed demon who wants to fly as fast as possible, even at the cost of stability. In which case, Manual mode is for you.
GPS Modes 1 & 2 Flight Performance
Now that we’ve talked about what each of the three different flight modes do, let’s talk about how well they actually perform.
They all function and perform a bit differently, so I’ll be reviewing them one by one.
GPS 1 is by far the slowest of the bunch. And when I say slow, I mean sloooooow. This is easily the slowest I’ve ever seen a brushless quadcopter fly. It’s more on par with cheap toy grade quadcopters in terms of speed in this mode. But like I said before, this is the mode you want to start in if you’re a beginner. I definitely don’t recommend this quadcopter for first-time pilots. It’s just too risky. But the option is always there.
I should also mention how stable it is in GPS modes. When properly locked onto the GPS signal, it hovers near perfectly. It might drift around ever so slightly in a light breeze, but for the most part, it hovers near perfectly still, and it even maintains the same amount of stability during flight.
“Manual Mode” Flight Performance
Now that we’ve discussed the extremely smooth and stable flight characteristics of the GPS Modes 1 & 2, it’s time to talk about a whole different beast.
That’s exactly what manual mode is. It’s completely unique from the GPS modes. It’s not quite as stable since it’s not locked onto any GPS satellites, but in turn, you can fly it faster than ever before. And this drone flies fast.
I spent at least two or three flights flying in a straight line, back and forth at full speed, barely even turning. All because of how amazed I was at how fast this quadcopter flies.
Not only that, but it’s also maneuverable. It can perform extremely tight acrobatics, and funnels, you name it.
The only downside of this manual mode is that it is not really “manual”. This quadcopter’s manual mode is not equivalent to acro mode in other quadcopters. It still self-levels and there is a restriction on the maximum amount of angle you can push it.
High-Quality DJI Style Transmitter
One of the standout features of the JYU Hornet S is by far the amazing transmitter.
It’s designed similarly to the DJI transmitters, but even better in some ways.
It has rubber grips on the sides which help when holding it, and overall feels very comfortable in your hand. The sticks and buttons all feel high-quality. I don’t have much bad to say about this transmitter, other than a large amount of buttons and knobs possibly being overwhelming to a new pilot.
The transmitter has many features and options to activate on the quadcopter such as return to home, automatic takeoff and automatic landing buttons.
Of course, you have your traditional quadcopter functions such as the ability to change your flight mode, activate your camera functions (only with the camera + gimbal module, not with just the FPV module).
And one more amazing feature….
Yet another distinct feature about the JYU Hornet that you don’t see often enough is the ability to customize your LEDs.
Now, the Hornet’s LEDs are in 4 pods underneath each one of the motors and are very visible during flight. Their visibility in itself is a huge perk, but then…. BUT THEN….
But then you also have the ability to adjust the color or brightness of the LEDs right from the transmitter!
You have the option to switch between red, blue and green lights and can switch between them at any time. If you prefer not to use any LEDs, you can dim them completely to preserve battery life.
One of the unique things about the JYU Hornet S is its modular design.
Underneath the quadcopter, there is a port which will allow you to easily insert the specially designed 2-axis gimbal or 1080p camera with little to no hassle. This is an awesome feature since you can easily swap out accessories without having to spend time unscrewing and taking things apart.
Another thing that fascinates me is the possibilities for the future that a design like this allows. It’s possible that JYU may release additional accessories, maybe an upgraded camera, that will snap into place just as easily as the current camera.
Another unique feature about this nifty quadcopter is it’s ability to configure the rates. From the dedicated JYU Hornet S software, you can configure your quadcopter’s flight rates.
Now, you can’t customize every little detail like you can with custom-built racing quadcopters configured with the Cleanflight software, but every bit of customization is welcome.
The Hornet S software allows you to customize things such as vertical, horizontal or rotational speed. I left mine on about 70 for all, but having experimented and bumped the rates all the way up in my own flights, I can tell you this quadcopter can either fly very fast and agile or very slow and steady depending on how you configure it. The ability to choose your own speeds makes it so that anybody can fly the Hornet as they want it to fly. I dig it!
How to Calibrate the Compass
Calibrating the compass of the Hornet S is quite a confusing process, and one of the biggest drawbacks of the model, in my opinion.
I’ll break it down for you and try to make the process as simple to understand as possible.
Here is how to calibrate the Hornet’s compass:
- Turn on the transmitter.
- Turn on the quadcopter (Quick press on the power button followed by a long press until the lights flash and the propellers wiggle).
- Hold the left stick down left and the right stick up left until quadcopter lights blink red.
- Hold the quadcopter out in front of you, sideways with the bottom of your quadcopter to the left.
- Start turning the quadcopter clockwise (forward) while rotating your body counter-clockwise (to the left) at the same time.
- Red lights will switch to blinking green lights.
- Keep rotating, blinking green turn to solid green once complete.
- Turn the quadcopter off and back on to complete compass calibration.
This whole process takes about 1-2 minutes and can be a nuisance each time you have to do it. On top of that, you need to wait for the GPS to lock on which takes another couple of minutes before you’re ready to fly. When the quadcopter’s lights become solid, and no longer blink, that means the GPS lock process is complete and you are ready to fly.
From here, simply hold the left stick down and to the right to idle the motors. Then it’s time to fly!
Camera & FPV
Depending on which Hornet S package you get, it may come with an FPV setup, or a 1080P camera and 2D Gimbal. Keep in mind that only the latter has the ability to record video, so if that’s your goal, then that’s what you’ll need.
It’s a bit of a disappointment that you can’t record with the FPV setup since there is nowhere to even put an SD card.
Regardless, the FPV version comes with a 5.8gHz FPV monitor which plugs into your transmitter and runs off other transmitter’s batteries. It’s a good thing the transmitter is rechargeable since this drains it’s battery rather quickly and will likely die after a week or two of heavy use.
Another small downside of the FPV display is that it doesn’t tell you crucial information such as the number of connected satellites like some other FPV displays do. Instead, you have to check the quadcopter’s LEDs to make sure they are the correct color (green) instead. This is a little bit disappointing considering the price of the quadcopter, but you can’t have everything I suppose!
Smart “Self-Storing” Battery
The included battery is a proprietary 2500 mAh 11.1v with an 8-pin connector.
It has LED lights directly on the battery which let you know the amount of charge the battery has left which is a very neat feature. It’s also a “smart battery” and is advertised to store itself after a certain amount of time of not using it. This helps preserve the battery life in the long run and is a welcome addition.
My only gripe is that this is a proprietary battery. Yes, the auto-store feature is nice, but this means we’ll need to buy this exact battery as a replacement, even if you have tons of other LiPo batteries from previous quadcopters in your collection. Definitely a bummer, but it looks like this is another feature that they decided to adopt from DJI drones.
The Final Verdict
Overall, the JYU Hornet S is a relatively complete quadcopter package. While pricey, it offers many features that other quadcopters simply don’t. It’s versatile enough that it can fly extremely slowly which is good for beginners, or extremely fast and maneuverable in manual mode for expert pilots.
The high-quality transmitter and modular design are two things that really turn this neat brushless quadcopter into a “borderline premium” package which rivals the likes of other quadcopters such as the popular Cheerson CX-20.
We hope this JYU Hornet S review was helpful. Do you think it stacks up against it’s FPV competitors? Let us know in the comments below!
– Drone Trove