EMAX Nighthawk Pro 280 FPV Quadcopter Review
FPV racing has caught the imagination of a large number of consumer drone hobbyists and gadget enthusiasts around the world. It’s an incredible and exciting sport. Just like in every other sport even one-tenth of a second lost can make all the difference between winning and losing (especially when you fly with 70 miles per hour or more). In this EMAX Nighthawk Pro 280 Quadcopter Review, we will look at one of the best FPV drones out there and tell you if it’s worth a buy or not.
EMAX is a promising new startup that specializes in low-cost RC quadcopters and target beginners as well as experienced drone flyers with their products. Nighthawk Pro 280 is the company’s best-seller product and is targeted specifically at FPV racers. EMAX Nighthawk Pro 280 is an RTF (ready to fly) drone, which means it can be used right out of the box after a few adjustments to its settings.
- Wheelbase: 280mm
- Frame Size: 252mm x 260mm x 75mm
- Motor: MT2204(Customization Version)
- ESC: BLheli 12A 4in1(Integrate onboard)
- Propeller: 6045
- Flight controller: Skyline32(Integrate onboard)
- FPV transmitter: 20MW/200MW
- Antenna: 5.8G Clover 3 Blade Antenna Straight Connector
- FPV Camera: 1/3-inch CMOS
- Battery: 3S, 1500-2200mAH 30C (not included)
Design and build
The frame design of the Nighthawk Pro 280 reminds of a Buick Grand National prepared for the Destruction derby. The build is straightforward and it’s built to be really massive. The frame is made out of fake carbon fiber, but it’s able to take some damage, so it won’t crash at the first collision.
The arms are thick and long and at the end of each one, there are 2204 motors with 6-inch props that provide enough power to get the hawk moving. It also features an LED light bar on the front, which is a nice touch. It works with a 3s battery, which makes the craft perfect for a beginner to learn on. It will behave nicely and smoothly under the hand of anyone. With a 4s the nighthawk becomes so much faster and aggressive but officially it’s not supported and needs to be adapted. These Nighthawk motors are the predecessor to the notorious Emax 2205 RS motors.
The FPV setup is not the best, but for the price, it does a really good job. It is a simple but functional system. The 200mw transmitter included can handle the task for most of the park flyers. The camera is a basic 700tvl board camera that has a pretty good image. If you want to improve the range and the quality of the video signal you can buy an additional quality antenna that will help you. The video transmitter module has a switch from 20mw to 200mw transmission power.
The Controller that comes with the kit is barely flyable for those who are used to any other transmitter. I suggest you change it to a frisky receiver and bind it into a Taranis transmitter.
The gimbal resolution is unpleasant and the stick range makes flying in acro very hard. Also, the control range is very low with this controller. I had a few dead sticks crashes less than 100 yards away due to signal loss. I suggest this is the first upgrade you want to do if you plan on doing acrobatic flying.
Others opinion about the EMAX Nighthawk Pro 280:
“In the package which I got after two weeks the parts were excellently packed Regarding the airframe itself, the motor windings are some of the better I’ve seen. Not Cobra quality, but still very nicely wound. The transmitter and the camera work really well together like a charm but the camera is a PAL output. I spent the better part of an hour scratching my head and trying to figure out why my NTSC monitor was black and white and a terrible video. I simply set my monitor to PAL and WOOOO the video was good to go.” – Romi
“This is my first real drone since I am new to this hobby. I’m a tech kind of guy who enjoys learning new hobbies in the technology world, and this drone was my perfect choice. It allowed me to investigate what radio and receiver to purchase that is compatible with this drone so I have learned a lot about this hobby. If you are already into RC drones, and already own the radio and receiver, then this is a perfect add-on drone to your collection. Overall, I love this drone but when I received the drone, I learned that the propeller kit had 3 clockwise and 1 counterclockwise propeller, so I had to notify the seller about this mistake. But the problem was quickly resolved by sending me the right propeller kit (for free), so it did take a few days longer to enjoy my new drone. If you are a beginner to this hobby, always investigate how to make the fail-safe feature work on your drone, it can save your drone!” – Kirk
“This is my second Night Hawk 280 Pro. I had it set up for Racing. The first one was Indestructible. I had some very bad crashes and I only broke a lot of props. You may want to buy a few extra. The drone comes with a USB cable and you can download Baseflight at the APP store for free. Here You can set up Your NightHawk the way you like it. Don’t Panic, it is easy to do. I suggest You go to YOUTube and they will tell you everything you will need to know. Takes 15 minutes and your Nighthawk will be as fast as you can handle & as Nimble as you need it to be. This is a very Good System! For the price, It has all that you might need for such a drone. Brushless Motors on the drone doesn’t even get warm a single time. I use an FS-TX9 Radio and an FS-i6b receiver. It has twin antennas for Max Range.”- Jeffrey
For those who want to get into FPV drone racing, the EMAX Nighthawk Pro 280 from this review could be a great first choice. After you charge up some batteries you can hit the flying field directly and enjoy the experience. The flight controller for this FPV racing drone is based on an f1 chip so experienced pilots won’t enjoy the slow processor loop times and CPU load limitations of the built inboard, but luckily it can be customized. The FPV setup works really well.