While the leader in the field of unmanned technologies DJI Innovations remains silent, competitors do not sleep. Parrot — slowly but surely, continues to conquer the lower end of the market for portable and affordable drones. Skidio is preparing to release a standalone rival for the Mavic 2 series drones. And the developers from Freefly recently introduced a new drone aimed at film professionals and documentary filmmakers, which has put new competitive pressure on the top UAV market. The Alta X is a foldable high-end quadcopter with octocopter potential, capable of greatly expanding the possibilities of aerial photography in a quality unrivaled today.
Freefly Systems is a fast-growing technology and film company that represents the intersection of art and technology. The team consists of leading industry experts who are focused on one task — the invention of solutions that provide unlimited camera movement. Initially, the company developed the CineStar line of multi-rotor camera platforms, which made it possible to realize smooth, stable and dynamic aerial photography from low altitudes. After many years of research and development on camera stability, the company introduced the MōVI (MōVI SR/XL/PRO/CARBON) series of camera stabilizers. With the arrival of the MōVI, a new era of stabilized cinematography has opened up across platforms ranging from handheld to helicopter and everything in between. The company is passionate about innovation and drives innovation by designing and developing film products that it uses in its own film productions. The headquarters is located in Woodinville, Washington.
The world’s first handheld and drone-mounted 5‑axis camera gimbal. The developer has miniaturized, optimized and reduced every gram of weight of the 5‑axis design so that the user can shoot in the most interesting places in the world. The Mōvi Carbon is equipped with two internal high-speed axes that ensure the camera is perfectly stable even in the most difficult conditions at full 240mm zoom. Equipped by default with a Panasonic GH5S professional camera in tandem with a Fujinon XK 20–120mm lens.
The developer on the new drone: “We designed the Alta X from the ground up to take advantage of the benefits of large and efficient propellers while maintaining the precise control and unrivaled precision that the Alta range is renowned for.”
- Works flawlessly even in the harshest environments
- Robust, multi-tested, foldable carbon construction for low vibration and precise flight characteristics.
- The Alta X folds at the touch of a finger, reducing it to half its flying size.
- Changes from transport to flight in less than 2 minutes
- The design allows you to quickly install the payload both at the top of the drone and at the bottom
- Foldable carbon-nylon propellers are built around a new and unique ActiveBlade* mechanism that reduces vibration generated by the propellers to about one-fifth of normal levels.
- Powered by 2 × FreeFly 12S 44.4V 16000mAh 20C 710.4Wh LiPo batteries
- Powerful and reliable DJI E7000 brushless motors
- Carries up to 16kg payload while maintaining a 2:1 thrust-to-weight ratio
- Thanks to the integrated quick release system at the top and bottom of the drone, it can be mounted with various payloads, such as: gimbal, LIDAR, LED backlight, generator, mapping equipment (with a resolution of 50–100MP), cable and others
- Custom PX4 Flight Control Stack
- Flexible software stack with Auterion Enterprise PX4 and MAVSDK support
- RTK support (including photo tags)
- Alta controlled by dedicated MAVSDK API software, which can be used from the ground via radio or via an optional computer (not included)
- 7 × flight modes: Manual, Altitude, Position, Mission, Loiter, Orbit, Return-to-Launch
- Alta X has 3 5V, 12V DC power outputs to power payloads + an extra row of ports for easy access.
- Max. horizontal flight speed 137 km/h
- Flight time with Mōvi Carbon (9kg payload) over 20 minutes
- Flight time with max. payload (16 kg) more than 10 minutes
- At lower loads, the flight time can exceed 40 minutes
- Flight case holds up to 175% payload
- Freefly Systems Partners: PX4 and Dronecode/Ublox/Auterion
- Alta X Checkup service program (detailed in the FAQ below)
- 24/7 technical service. real time support
- Special training program for future operators
- A team of engineers is at your disposal to help you, from custom integrations to advice on adapting your payload to Alta X.
- Spare parts delivery around the clock
- Predictive maintenance/Real-time aircraft monitoring
- Efficiency and transparency in all aspects of the relationship with the client
*ActiveBlade mechanism compensates for dissymmetry in lift and load cycling by turning the blades when the Alta X is operating at maximum speeds. The ActiveBlade reduces peak vibration levels to 1/5 of the level seen with props without such a mechanism, resulting in better reliability and more precise flight performance.
The developer offers a drone in a single configuration. The type of payload is selected individually and depends on the tasks of the customer. These can be devices such as a gimbal, LIDAR, LED backlight, generator, mapping equipment (with a resolution of 50–100MP), a cable, and others.
- 1 × parts kit 910–00417
- 1 × Alta X frame
- Related tool: Screwdriver set (Allen Driver Set) 2.0 mm, 2.5 mm and 3 mm
Main add. accessories
Diameter in flight condition (excluding propellers):
Diameter in flight condition (including propellers):
Height (with increased Skyview clearance):
Number of motors:
Max. continuous motor power:
Max. short-term motor power:
130A (> 3s)
840 × 230 mm foldable
carbon + nylon
Direction of rotation:
propellers 2 × CW and 2 × CCW)
Rated battery voltage:
Battery Power Connector:
Required minimum battery discharge:
320A per battery 20C for 16Ah pack
Max. gross weight for takeoff:
Typical Standard Empty Weight:
Custom PX4 Flight Control Stack
Manual, Altitude, Position, Mission, Loiter, Orbit, Return
Futaba, Spektrum, PX4 compatible SBUS and PPM receivers
Supported radio controller telemetry systems:
subject to voltage supply to Futaba RX Telemetry
Min. number of channels for the radio controller:
5 (Roll, Pitch, Yaw, Throttle, Mode)
Supported satellite positioning systems:
Default data logging rate:
variable, 25 Hz for basic flight data
Lighting and navigation
at the end of each reference beam
Light orientation color options:
colors can be set by software — Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Cyan/Blue/Purple/White/Off.
Price and availability
The Alta X quadcopter is sold by the developer through the FreeFly Store:
- The price of the stock kit is $15,995.
Main add. accessories:
- Mōvi Carbon (standard) — $45,000
- Alta X 12S Flight Packs — $999.95
- Recommended EV Peak U4 Enterprise Drone Charger — $799.95
- Additional set of blades CW / CCW — $ 79.95
- Single Motor Propeller Set with ActiveBlade — $499.95
- Futaba 14SG control equipment — Alta X with Futaba R7008SB receiver — $ 700
- Alta X Case (Shipping Case) — $1995
- FRX Pro Pair for Alta X (US) — $749.95
- Optional FPV System for Alta X — $299.95
Q. What engines does the Alta X use?
A. Alta X uses DJI E7000 motors. After extensive testing by Freefly, these motors proved to be the most powerful and reliable.
Q. Is there an Alta X Synapse version?
Oh no. The Alta X will run on the PX4 flight stack in a similar fashion to the Alta 8 Pro.
Q. What is the maximum load capacity of the Alta X?
A. The maximum gross takeoff weight is 34.9 kg above sea level, at 0°C. Full temperature and altitude performance graphs can be seen in the Alta X Flight Manual.
Q. What is an “ActiveBlade?”
A. The ActiveBlade allows the blades on the Alta X to pivot to counter some of the unwanted effects of lift dissymmetry and load cycling. The ActiveBlade reduces peak vibration levels to 1/5 of the level seen without the ActiveBlade mechanism. This provides better reliability and more accurate flight characteristics.
Q. What batteries does the Alta X run on?
A. Alta X can work with different LiPo batteries:
- The batteries must be 12S, with a nominal voltage of 44.4V.
- Run Alta X with only two batteries at the same time
- Alta X battery has XT-90 connectors
- Each battery pack must have a continuous discharge rating of 250A or more and max. peak discharge power of 500A or more.
Q. What flight controller does the Alta X use?
A. For fast and powerful interaction, Alta X uses the same PX4 open flight stack as Alta 8 Pro.
Q. Can I use third party propellers on the Alta X?
Oh no. Propellers should be the same make/model/type as listed in the Alta X Flight Manual and always replaced in matched and balanced sets.
Q. Is Alta X compatible with DroneCode SDK?
Q. What is the range of the Alta X ground station radio?
A. The Alta X uses a specially programmed FRX Pro to communicate with the ground station computer. Operating range: 1500m+ (5000’+). Range depends on signal strength settings, RF environment, and line-of-sight.
Q. Can we customize the code on Pixhawk?
A. Yes, but a little later. We need to send our code to PX4.
Q. What software do I need to program an autonomous waypoint flight?
A. You can use the ALTA Ground Control mobile apps or the Mac/PC desktop app.
Q. What is the Alta X Checkup service and why is it needed?
A. The developer understands that their users will operate Freefly equipment in a variety of difficult situations, relying on the equipment to work flawlessly. As such, Freefly recommends that users ship their used equipment at the following intervals for inspection to ensure optimum long-term performance and reliability. It is recommended that Alta be serviced once a year or every 1000 flight hours. The cost of this service: $999.
Freefly will test Alta with a special focus on:
- Wear/Fatigue Fracture Items
- Update/Improve/Revise Components
- Confirmation of Performance Thresholds: Motors, Sensors
The Alta X Checkup service will include:
- Service summary and firmware update.
- Full airworthiness check
- Full cleaning and replacement of fasteners (if necessary)
- Testing and requalification at the system level
A developer about filming a promo video for Alta X.
Developer about Mōvi Carbon.