The Emax NightHawk 280 Pro is a prebuilt racing drone similar to the Arris FPV250 racing drone that we previously reviewed. The NightHawk 280 Pro FPV mini racing drone comes in two configurations- ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) and RTF (Ready To Fly). For the ARF version you’ll need to supply an RC controller and receiver, as well as a battery. For the RTF version you will just need to supply a battery. For the purposes of this article, we won’t be focusing so much on the differences between the ARF and RTF versions, but more focusing on what the Nighthawk 280 Pro miniquad itself has to offer.
LET’S START WITH THE FACTS:
- The Emax NightHawk 280 Pro features a strong carbon glass composite frame
- The NightHawk 280 Pro racing quad (ARF) is priced at $196.00
- The NightHawk 280 Pro comes assembled with an FPV camera, transmitter, and antenna. Just supply a pair of VIDEO GOGGLES to enjoy FPV drone racing!
- Both the ARF and RTF versions need a battery. We recommend THIS ONE.
Now it’s time to break it down. We’ll look at the pros and cons of the NightHawk 280 Pro to help you decide if this racing miniquad is the FPV drone for you.
NIGHTHAWK 280 PRO FRAME/HARDWARE QUALITY: 8/10
With a carbon- glass composite frame construction and a traditional racing drone look, the NightHawk 280 Pro means business, although some of the other materials used aren’t as impressive as the frame.
- Strong composite construction frame
- Front frame design protects FPV flight camera
- Frame design allows FPV flight camera to tilt
- No excessive cut- outs in the frame
- Aluminum frame standoffs
- Stock props are low quality
- Stock FPV antenna is poor quality
NIGHTHAWK 280 PRO ELECTRONICS QUALITY: 8/10
Boasting good quality motors, a variable power video transmitter, and a fully- integrated PDB baseplate, the NightHawk 280 pro doesn’t fail to impress on the electronics front.
- Good quality motors
- Video transmitter can switch between 200mw and 20mw
- Fully- integrated PDB allows for a clean frame; less wiring to deal with when repairing
- Good quality FPV camera
- If arms break in a crash the PDB can be damaged
- All- in- one PDB means that single component failure could translate to replacing the entire board.
NIGHTHAWK 280 PRO EASE OF REPAIR: 7/10
With a multi- piece design the NightHawk 280 Pro is easy to take apart and put back together, but finding the parts you need to get back in the air might prove a bit challenging.
- Individually removable arms mean replacing the arms instead of the entire bottom plate
- Standard screw sizes
- Arm design and attachment transfers stress to PDB
- Some parts can be difficult to source
NIGHTHAWK 280 PRO EASE OF SETUP: 7/10
Like the Arris FPV 250 or the Lumenier QAV250 G10 we previously reviewed, the NightHawk 280 Pro FPV can be tricky to set up and adjust if you’re a complete beginner. However, a pre- assembled a neatly wired body takes out the guesswork of sourcing components, even if the software elements present some difficulty.
- Pre assembled drone makes final setup less complicated
- Wiring, including for the FPV video system, is completed and installed
- Flight battery installation is straightforward
- Software tuning settings present a difficult learning curve for total beginners
- Final wiring for the ARF version can be difficult for beginners not used to channel mapping
NIGHTHAWK 280 PRO FLYING EXPERIENCE: VARIABLE
With so many variables in terms of setup, the Emax NightHawk 280 Pro can be tuned to fly many different ways. With factors like battery, RC controller settings, internal Flight Control board settings, and even the props and goggles you chose to use, the Nighthawk 280 Pro can offer a variety of flying experiences to different people.
- Many variables in craft setup allow for customizing a ‘best for you’ experience
- Programmable Flight Control board allows you to tune the NightHawk 280 Pro for best performance
- Many variables make it confusing for beginners
- Flight Controller programming can be difficult to learn for beginners
IS THE NIGHTHAWK 280 PRO THE DRONE FOR YOU?
The NightHawk 280 Pro is a durable FPV racing drone option that avoids plastic construction or gimmick design. With a traditional racing drone look, nearly every piece of the NightHawk 280 Pro is meant for function. While the pre- assembled aspect of the NightHawk is likely attractive to beginners, setting up the miniquad with the firmware settings on the internal flight control board can present somewhat of a challenge for someone who might be looking at the NightHawk 280 Pro for their first drone.
If you’re an FPV drone enthusiast who’s looking at the NightHawk 280 Pro, it would be a good idea to look up and become familiar with the tuning and software settings that you’ll need in order to complete the final setup of the NightHawk 280 Pro.
One thing we recommend– if you’re going with the ARF version, make sure that the complementary items you purchase to complete the kit are good quality. Buying top- quality items will help you avoid spending more money on upgrades in the future.
For a beginner or intermediate FPV racing drone pilot, the NightHawk 280 Pro FPV racing drone will be a durable racer to give you endless fun at the flying field. Although software may be somewhat challenging, once you’re in the air the NightHawk 280 Pro will be a great addition to your fleet.