The ZOHD Drift is a lightweight and portable RC plane is suitable for pilots of all skill levels, boasting numerous features tailored for beginners and experienced flyers alike. This new version the Dark Breeze is essentially the original with a few differences. I’ll provide a detailed breakdown of the ZOHD Drift Dark Breeze, comparing it to the original model and discussing its features, improvements, and my overall thoughts on this interesting new release.
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Where to Buy?
You can find the ZOHD Drift Dark Breeze PNP kit from the following vendors:
- Banggood: https://oscarliang.com/product-k4qg (coupon price $98.99, expires 30th April 2023, coupon code BGc15bcd)
- AliExpress: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DDJ1HWh
- BuddyRC: https://oscarliang.com/product-hdnx
What are included in the box: ZOHD DRIFT plane PNP with pre-installed motor, ESC, servos, propeller, and hardware. FC (Kopilot Lite) and FPV setup (VC400) are not included.
Features of the ZOHD Drift Dark Breeze Edition
The ZOHD Drift Dark Breeze Edition brings a fresh new look and some interesting updates to the ZOHD Drift. Let’s dive into the specifics of this fantastic new model.
Improved Foam Material
As the name suggests, the Dark Breeze Edition is a black foam version of the ZOHD Drift model. While the design of the model is identical to the original version, the foam used in the Dark Breeze Edition is denser, stiffer and slightly heavier than the white foam used in the original Drift.
Flexible Power Options
The Dark Breeze Edition uses the same ZOHD 1406 2600KV motor from its predecessor but now includes two different propellers for 2S and 3S LiPo. This change allows users to power the aircraft with a 2S lithium-ion battery for longer flight time, or a small 3S LiPo for performance, providing more versatility in flight preference.
The ZOHD Drift Dark Breeze Edition comes with all key components pre-installed and glued to the foam parts. There’s no need for additional tools or glues – simply assemble the plane by hand. This user-friendly approach makes getting your “dark” Drift up and flying a “breeze” (pun intended).
Key Features From ZOHD:
- Super easy to hand launch and slow fly, agile and accurate in control.
- Detachable main wing and tail boom, glue-free assembly, portable for outdoor flying.
- Durable EPP material, built-in CF spar for enhancement, crash resistant.
- Being lightweight will be safe to fly anywhere, anytime. You’re avoiding the hassle of an FPV registration.
- Large battery bay for extended flight time.
- The nose camera bay is compatible with all FPV and AIO cameras in the market.
- A specially designed H-girder for the main wing makes it super solid and tough.
- Built-in CF strip inside the fuselage for extra enhancement.
- Built-in CF rods in the ailerons will give precision and sharp action to your inputs.
- Dedicated equipment bay for FPV Camera, Flight Controller (ZOHD Kopilot Lite), and GPS.
- The optimized air-cooling design will keep your gear safe from overheating
- Wingspan: 877mm (34.52”)
- Length: 688mm (27.08”)
- Version: PNP
- Motor: 1406-2600KV
- ESC: 30A w/5V 2A BEC
- Servos: 4.3g*2, 8g*1
- Propeller: 3x5x3 (3-blade for 3S)
- Propeller: 5x5x2 (2-blade for 2S)
- Weight: 168g without battery
- Recommended Battery: 3S 800-1100mAh or 2S 900-1500mAh LiPo
Closer Look at the Design and Build Quality
All of the foam dimensions and CG marks in the ZOHD Drift Dark Breeze Edition are the same as the original model.
There are reinforcement carbon spars in the key areas of the wings and tail to provide additional strength and durability.
I love how easily accessible the hatches are for GPS and battery, as well as a removable hatch underneath the plane. The hatches all have strong magnets and they stay on securely. The wings and other components are attachable without glue and tools, making transportation easy.
The battery compartment is a reasonable size, and there is plenty of room for a small flight controller or stabilizer. There is a hole in the nose for your FPV camera, and there is also space in the belly for a receiver and other electronics.
The Dark Breeze Edition comes with black decals/stickers, but they are hard to see on the black foam. However, the finish of the foam is good, and the weight of the PNP model without any other electronics in it is about 168 grams.
The Dark Breeze still does not have a rudder. While this may not be a significant issue for casual flying, learning to use a rudder is essential for mastering coordinated turns. However, the Drift’s design allows for banking and yanking maneuvers without a rudder, which should be sufficient for most beginner pilots.
While it is possible to use other FPV equipment, ZOHD recommends their own Kopilot Lite flight controller (which supports GPS) and VC400 camera/VTX FPV setup, which integrate seamlessly into the Drift’s design. You can get the Kopilot Lite FC here: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DdbiYtj
In my testing, I opted for a simpler approach, connecting a PWM receiver to the plane without a flight controller, and flying it line of sight without an FPV setup.
Ideal for Light Wind Conditions
Due to its lightweight build, the ZOHD Drift is best suited for light wind conditions. Its gentle flying characteristics make it an excellent choice for teaching someone to fly or for beginners who want to learn on their own. With a 3S 850mah LiPo, I get over 20 mins of flight time.
It wobbles quite a bit when it’s windy. It’s more enjoyable to fly the Drift in calm weather I have to say. With a stabilizer or flight controller I think it can handle the wind better.
Motor Location and Safe Launching
The location of the motor helps protect the propeller from damage during landings and reduces the chance of cutting your finger during launching.
Soaring and Gliding
The ZOHD Drift is not designed for aggressive flying or aerobatics; instead, it excels at soaring and gliding in calm conditions. With that said it’s still a pretty agile plane, I had to lower the rate quite a bit to get it fly smoothly. Its compact design allows for easy portability, and the removable wings and tail make it simple to pack for transport.
If you want a more powerful plane with similar features, check out the Heewing T1 Ranger. It can go faster and carry a bigger payload, also handles the wind better: https://oscarliang.com/heewing-t1-inav-matek-f411-wte/
Foam Dimensions and CG Marks
All foam dimensions and CG marks are the same as the original model. However, some pilots have reported issues with the CG position, causing the Drift to spiral to the ground when going too fast. If you encounter this issue, try balancing the aircraft at the front edge of the CG bumps.
I’ll walk you through the process of assembling the ZOHD Drift Dark Breeze. Here’s the manual for the original Drift but also applies to the Dark Breeze:
Installing the Tail
- The first step in assembling your ZOHD Drift is to install the tail. Gently push it into place, being cautious not to bend any parts.
- Once the tail is in position, secure it using the collet. This will keep the tail firmly in place.
Installing Tail Servo Pushrod
- Next, slide the pushrod into the middle hole of the servo arm.
- Secure it with the plastic retaining clip. It should look something like this when you’re done.
Adding the Horizontal Stabilizer and Wings
- Now, it’s time to attach the horizontal stabilizer to the tail, secure it in place using one of the small plastic screws included in the kit.
- When attaching the pushrod to the control surface, make sure the tail is completely level and aligned with the control surface. You can adjust the length of the pushrod by rotating it.
Attach the Wings
- Push the small spar through the hole in the body.
- The wings easily attach to the fuselage by simply pushing them into the spar, and they will snap into position
- Finally secure the wings with a screw in the middle.
Installing the Receiver
- Connect the servo cables and ESC cable into the PWM receiver.
- ESC goes to CH1 (throttle), Servos on the wing goes to CH2 (aileron), this servo connector has double wires it’s easy to identify. The tail servo goes to CH3 (elevon).
Installing FPV Setup
To set up your FPV drone, you’ll need an AIO (All-In-One) FPV Camera and VTX (Video Transmitter) combo, similar to this one (I can’t find the exact model of mine because it’s quite old, but most AIO unit should work just fine): https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DlhChEh
Matek 5V 2A Voltage Regulator: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DEehjXx
When installing the AIO FPV camera and VTX, simply press-fit the components into their designated locations, ensuring a snug fit, no glue needed. Power the setup using a 5V 2A BEC, connected to the provided red JST connector, which draws power directly from the battery. Keep in mind that the VTX can heat up quickly after powering on. To prevent overheating, it’s crucial to take off promptly, allowing sufficient airflow to cool the VTX.
- This is the Mixes and Inputs settings I have on my radio. I set it up exactly the same as I have on the Heewing T1, but I had to invert Elevon, and lower the aileron rate to 50, the elevon rate to 75.
- Perform a high-five check to ensure everything is working in the right direction. I made this diagram for the Heewing T1 but it also applies to the Drift.
To balance the plane, there are balance bumps under the wings. Check manual above for the exact location. With the FPV setup and a 3S 750mah or 850mah in the front compartment, the plane is in great balance without any further adjustment.
The ZOHD Drift Dark Breeze Edition may not be a groundbreaking update to the classic Drift plane, but it does bring some welcome changes, such as stiffer foam and two sets of propellers. While I had hoped for more significant changes, I’m excited to see ZOHD finally back in action, and I hope this edition marks the beginning of more innovative products from the company.
The Drift Dark Breeze Edition excels in its simple and portable design and gentle flight characteristics. Although it isn’t tailored for aggressive flying styles, its performance and user-friendly features make it a solid choice for pilots of all skill levels. While it’s a fantastic option for beginners seeking a reliable and easy to fly plane, the Drift could certainly benefit from a stabilizer or small flight controller.
You can find the ZOHD Drift Dark Breeze PNP kit here:
- Banggood: https://oscarliang.com/product-k4qg
- AliExpress: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DDJ1HWh
- BuddyRC: https://oscarliang.com/product-hdnx
And if you are looking for a similar plane that can carry a bigger battery and handle the wind better, check out the Heewing T1 Ranger: https://oscarliang.com/heewing-t1-inav-matek-f411-wte/