Praising Parrot

So, this is what my Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 quadricopter looked like about a month ago following an apparent total electronics failure and subsequent crash.

Wrecked Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

That thing dangling in the lower left corner is what's left of one of the motors, and the propeller that you don't see is the one that snapped off when the bird impacted the ground.

At the time of the crash, the onboard camera was recording, but the device apparently has developed the human-like ability to blank out traumatic memories because the video ends a couple of seconds before the chopper dropped from the sky. However, below you'll see a faithful re-creation of the whole event, pretty much exactly as it happened. (Warning: Some scenes contain graphic violence and may be disturbing to some watchers. Viewer discretion is advised. However, artist discretion was also advised, and look where that got us.)

Animated GIF of quadricopter crash

Immediately after this tragic event, I found on the Parrot website a number of videos for self-repair of the device, as well as a section for ordering replacement parts. It appeared I could fix it myself for about $80 (and no telling how much mental anguish). But I decided to try one outrageous strategy before embarking on that perilous journey: I emailed the company and asked them what to do.

See, as far as I could tell, I didn't contribute to the crash. The weather was calm, I wasn't trying anything crazy, and the device just shut down in mid-air. So I attached screenshots of the error message on my phone, and of the settings in the app that controlled the flight parameters...that set limits on speed, altitude, angle. All of those settings were pretty conservative since I'm a new pilot.

The company's response was gratifying. "If you can provide proof of purchase, we'll fix it under warranty." So I asked my brother for a copy of the receipt (it was a Christmas gift - a very generous gift, I might add) and boxed up the remains and shipped it to Holland, Michigan.

Allowing for shipping time both ways, I estimate that it spent only two or three days in their possession and I had it back, good as new, much quicker than I expected. And we've been terrorizing neighborhood dogs ever since.

There are a lot of companies out there that do a great job of providing customer service and support, but too often the ones that don't get all the publicity. My feedback to Parrot after getting the repaired 'copter back was that I'd put in a good word for them on the blog and my Facebook page. They lived up to their commitment, and now I have, as well.

And if you have some spare shekels, buy yourself one of these things; they're fun as all get out.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on February 9, 2013 2:16 PM.

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