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Posted by on Feb 17, 2016

Onagofly or NotGoNoFly? Crowdfunded drone unboxing and review.

Onagofly or NotGoNoFly? Crowdfunded drone unboxing and review.

We are singlehandedly experiencing the drone revolution as its happening. Thousands of people are hungry to get a chunk of the expected 4 billion dollar drone market by the end of 2016 and there have been many people who tried but failed to get into the drone market. We’re also in the age of crowdfunding; an era where if you have an idea you can make a pretty video and pre-sale your products. If you meet your goal, you’re funded. What you do with that money is completely up to you at that point.

The Onagofly secured 2.95 million dollars on crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo 2 months ago and have since started shipping their product. I bought in at a $150 price point for the 1st 200 backers so I was able to justify the risk of giving them my money.

Processed with VSCOcam with h3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with h3 preset

The intersection of crowdfunding and drones fills a void where companies can over promise and under deliver. The most common type of drone put on Kickstarter is an action sports or selfie type of drone which is the white elephant in the UAS industry, primarily because “follow me” action sport type of drones have one key flaw: obstacle avoidance. (Yuneec has addressed this problem is the Typhoon H with Intel Realsense). Drones have the capability to know where the pilot is through cell phone GPS or GPS wristband, but the craft isn’t self aware of its environment enabling it to avoid obstacles. The Onagofly claims to have 360 degree obstacle avoidance, but its only active up to 6 inches away from the drone (the propeller takes up one and a half inches of that) so that’s an issue if you’re moving fast.


I did like the packaging it came it!

My experience with the Onagofly has been interesting to say the least. To start, I got an email saying my drone shipped (I bought within the 1st 2 hours of the campaign) so I responded to get a tracking number. I got an auto response saying they were out of the office for the next week and a half. I couldn’t believe it as tech products will need support and people will have questions when they’re basically beta testers.

The quick start guide as a double sided 4 panel folded instructional sheet. I made sure to RTFM before I did anything with the drone. It was clear about what everything on the drone was, the app interface, whats included, and technical specs. It wasn’t so clear about how you calibrated level on the phone, what the protocols were for if it loss link, etc.

Production line in China

Production line in China

Before I go on let me say I still have hope for this product. The hardware is acceptable as it can take a hit (see video below), the app can (and needs to be) updated in the future, and I believe that all the hardware is there. That means with some updates, this little guy has some potential left in him and I haven’t given up hope.

Onagofly App

Onagofly App

So, onto my 1st test flight. I had to borrow a co-workers phone because they only have support for Android at the moment. DJI also had this issue during the launch of Lightbridge and the Inspire 1, as it takes a while to get apps translated from their written language on android into apple’s code format. After that the app needs to be reviewed and approved by Apple staff and that can cause more delay for the the app to arrive on time in the app store. The app interface isn’t the most beautiful, but is functional.

I checked that I had GPS, pressed record, and clicked the unlock button which starts idling the motors. I then slid the altitude slider up and the drone gained altitude. I thought it was going to hover in place using GPS although there was no option for a compass or GPS calibration, but it did not. It drifted to the left and backwards, according to the tilt of my phone unknown to me.  I had GPS signal before I took off, and upon further testing the GPS went from all green to none after pressing record or switching form photo to video mode. Strange.

Resized sample from camera

Resized sample from camera

After finding out that GPS worked until I pressed record or switched modes I re-srtarted it to see GPS hold. The GPS worked slightly and the Onagofly had a hard time holding altitude. I hit record and as I suspected lost the GPS signal and had to pilot it in tilt mode.

On one demo flight (starting at 3:55 in video) the flight was going as well as it could. The tilt mode worked, but the drone had problems holding altitude and responding to my inputs in the app. I tried to bring it in to land and I suspect what happened is the drone lost control link with my phone and held the last control input which was to fly back towards me. It kept going and ended up smashing into a building. Thankfully nothing broke, not even one prop.

All in all, the Onagofly has the potential to be a cool product. What it will take or how long it will take to get there is another question. I would rather crowd funding campaigns promise a deliver date later than they think, and deliver earlier. This would give a little more time for development and testing to make sure that the product works as promised.

Does it work as promised? No. The drone has GPS problems, it is not consumer-friendly (yet) and even though I wasn’t expecting it at all, they advertised perfectly steady shots which general consumers who backed the product are expecting. The GPS issues should be able to be fixed in a firmware update to make the drone usable. How would I use the Onagofly in real life? Once the flight control is taken care of I would use Onagofly only for still photos. It’s small enough to fit in the small pocket of a backpack and would be easy to keep with me at all times.

If you’re interested in the Onagofly I would suggest waiting on purchasing it. They haven’t finished shipping to their backers yet, and don’t expect to until the middle or end of march. I would wait and see if they release a timely fix for the GPS hold issues and lack of sensor calibrations. The Onagofly is retailing for $259 and can be ordered on their IndieGoGo campaign page.

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  • knotmott

    Based on their marketing it would appear unlikely ever to meet consumer expectations. They have misled consumers from day one and financed a campaign of SPAM on forums and elsewhere on the net. At CES they were unable to get the units to even fly. We’ve all seen this movie before. It’s not likely to end well.

  • jay boucher

    I was prepared to be let down, but not this much. From faking the footage in the pitch video, to not having the app ready, this really is starting to feel like a scam. This isn’t a first-in-class product, it’s a rehash of what’s already commercially available, so there should be little surprise or challenge in creating this, other than ineptitude or poor intentions.

  • joseph Santarromana

    just wanted to post this from Onagoflys own site. I invested in January because it is documented here on the site that all the testing was complete. nothing here says it failed the testing and by December its a done deal. On the Onagofly Facebook pages when anyone complains there are about 4 people on full time duty telling the complainers that its still under testing but from what Onagofly posted its already finished!

    • joseph Santarromana

      and for those of you that don’t know it can barely even fly as well as a $50 Hubsan and they haven’t even gotten to the gps and follow me

  • R. Bascom

    Ordered Jan. 2, 2016. Today is May 2, 2016 and I’ve not received anything indicating my order has shipped. I wrote Indiegogo requesting a refund, and will be filing a dispute with PayPal for a refund.


  • RoyFokker

    I ordered it in NOVEMBER and was promised delivery mid-late Feb. Still havent gotten it, no replies to my last two emails. What to do next, can I get my money back thru Indiegogo somehow?

  • Adam Hall

    I am extremely dissappointed in this purchase. I got mine and took it on a shoot filming in Majorca. Day one I plugged in the ludicrously stupid connectors and… In seconds it melted in my hands and burst into flames. I shit you not! Steer well clear of this you will be very very very dissappointed. My shoot was ruined and they ridiculously said they would send me another if I jumped through a ton of hoops and paid for postage back to them. Only then would they send out another which would take months. I just asked for a refund. Three weeks later I’ve not heard from them since. Disgusted. Have a PayPal claim filed now. From what I’ve read subsequently, and above, the thing falls way short of promises and faked promo video. I feel like a mug. Please do not buy this people.

  • SirGeo

    One just has to look at the video evidence on the shared video sites to realize that this drone as it exists now is a total misrepresentation of what was claimed on their IndieGoGo campaign page. In my opinion, this company has preyed on the unsuspecting novice first time drone buyers similar to what was seen with the failed Zano campaign. The flight is unstable, the video is unusable, GPS lock is inconsistent or nonexistent, and the follow me and obstacle avoidance features are non-functioning. Customer support is amateurish at best. A few dedicated owners on their FB page continue to extol the virtues of Onagofly, and while they are entitled to their opinion, the overwhelming evidence indicates that this drone is a total failure on every single feature that was originally touted.

    • Adam Hall

      I could not agree more. How can you release a product where none of the key features demonstrated in your promo video work. I have had no reply after 1 month about my refund and have been forced to go through PayPal. I advise anyone dissapointed to get their money back now before the pot runs dry! My suspicions were instantly arounsed when seeing the incredibly incompetent design of the battery connection array. Simply terrible product. It will be a VERY long time before I am an early adopter and trust any of these loyalty funded projects again. Feel totally ripped off.

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  • indiewoo

    I bought this drone via Indiegogo, and it arrived in June 2016. Very poor quality instructions, the sort created by engineers with (1) no comprehension of new user requirements, and (2) English which had not been written correctly. After a couple of frustrating hours trying to get it to operate at all, we finally managed to get it to turn on. On the very first lift-off it flew immediately sideways at speed straight into my 4 year old son’s face, cutting his forehead. Fortunately he just had enough time to put up his hands and divert the unprotected blades from hitting his eyes. This is a terribly dangerous product which is likely to maim someone before long. I wrote to Onagofly, and sent them photos of my son’s face etc. No word, no reply, nothing. This is a deeply irresponsible company.

  • bluefission

    If you would like to participate in the lawsuit against Onagofly please follow this link:

  • emslv moddslv

    Indiegogo is just a scamm site and nothingh more; nice photo garnished/packed with lies.They are not able to lead a campaign they just cash their comission . I suppose pay-pal is involved in this BIG LIE, because they have to win some fee, I wonder how is that possible for such big comp ?