INTRODUCTION
ARC Aerial Imaging was recently approached and were asked by Panzer Cases (www.panzercases.co.uk) to review their brand new range of professional equipement storage cases for the DJI Inspire 1 drone.

Having used several professional cases to protect our drone platforms and ancillary equipment, we were privileged to have been given the chance to probably have first practical "hands-on" with their Aurora case range for the DJI Inspire 1.

 Panzer Cases 'Aurora' Range for DJI Inspire 1 Drone

Panzer Cases 'Aurora' Range for DJI Inspire 1 Drone

This review will be in several parts; firstly in this blog post we'll be giving our initial impressions of Panzer Cases' Inspire 1 Drone (Flight and Travel Mode) Aurora Case and, secondly, briefly reviewing the other Aurora cases that are available to support and protect other ancillary equipment for the Inspire 1.

Lastly, and when out on an official aerial imaging commission, we'll soon be "field-testing" the Inspire 1 Pro Drone (Flight and Travel Mode) Case carefully assessing it's field performance in a future blog review post.


PANZER CASE INSPIRE 1 DRONE (FLIGHT AND TRAVEL MODE) AURORA CASE

External Dimensions: 851mm (L) x 556mm (W) x 429mm (H)
Internal Dimensions: 763mm (L) x 483mm (W) x 402mm (H)
Weight: 16.67kg
Buoyancy Max: 118.5kg
Volume (Ltr): 145.84
Material: Engineering Resin & Glass Fibre
IP Rating: IP67

 Panzer Cases 'Aurora' Range for DJI Inspire 1 Drone.

Panzer Cases 'Aurora' Range for DJI Inspire 1 Drone.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
What immediately strikes you is its size - it's BIG!  However, this is for some good practical reasons that encompasses some really clever storage solutions.  To give you an impression on scale, below are three images comparing its size (bottom) with that of the Multi Rotor Axessories Case (middle) and the standard DJI case that comes as supplied with the Inspire 1 drone (top).

 Side View: DJI Inspire 1 Case (top), Multi Rotor Axessories Inspire 1 Travel Mode Case (middle) and Panzer Cases Aurora Inspire 1 Flight and Travel Mode Case (bottom).

Side View:
DJI Inspire 1 Case (top), Multi Rotor Axessories Inspire 1 Travel Mode Case (middle) and Panzer Cases Aurora Inspire 1 Flight and Travel Mode Case (bottom).

 End View: DJI Inspire 1 Case (top), Multi Rotor Axessories Inspire 1 Travel Mode Case (middle) and Panzer Cases Aurora Inspire 1 Flight and Travel Mode Case (bottom).

End View:
DJI Inspire 1 Case (top), Multi Rotor Axessories Inspire 1 Travel Mode Case (middle) and Panzer Cases Aurora Inspire 1 Flight and Travel Mode Case (bottom).

 Top View: Multi Rotor Axessories Inspire 1 Travel Mode Case (top) and Panzer Cases Aurora Inspire 1 Flight and Travel Mode Case (bottom).

Top View:
Multi Rotor Axessories Inspire 1 Travel Mode Case (top) and Panzer Cases Aurora Inspire 1 Flight and Travel Mode Case (bottom).

Hosted within a 145.84 litre resin and class fibre air-transportable hard case, its build feels really hard, robust and has a dark grey professional look.  The case features several carrying handles, one long on the front and two smaller ones at each end (one being encompassed by an additional larger handle to pull the case on its wheels).  While these are robust and chunky handles which do feel solid they don't, however, have any rubber parts unlike the other smaller ancillary cases within the Aurora range.

The front features a manual pressure release to the left which should stop the case expanding or becoming compressed if altitude varies.  The wheels are large and quite broad which should provide smooth transportation of the case on hard surfaces and pavements but could be difficult transporting it on gravel, long grass and in muddy environments however Panzer Cases are considering a solution to mitigate this in the future.  There isn’t a lot of protection around the wheels so that may be something to keep an eye on over time to see how they handle the rigours of general day-to-day uses which we feel will cope with and if regularly being transported by air.

The case has seven latches (three latches at the front and two on each end) which use a lever/lock system to secure the case lid.  Like the other case I have, there are no springs at play with these latches and these simply snap (with a bit of applied strength) firmly in to place and snap open with side ribbing to protect the latches.  For additional equipment security there is a total of 6 holes (4 at the front, one at each end of the case) for small padlocks.

INSIDE THE CASE

Looking inside the case reveals the custom designed foam and it has to be stated this really impressed us - there’s some clever design work within here offering, unlike some cases, a variety of optional equipment storage solutions.

The Inspire 1 drone is comfortably housed (both in the drone's flight (with X3 or X5 Camera attached) or in travel mode and is firmly protected.  The high quality of the foam is indicative of that found in other high-spec pro-cases for the transportation of highly-sensitive equipment and surpasses the quality that can be found within another popular Inspire case that we also have.  The case's lid is also internally lined with the same custom designed solid foam with 8 individual recess cutouts which can accommodate the standard DJI and other third-party carbon fibre props.

Aside from the recesses within the larger section specifically designed to protect two controllers, two tablet devices (or for documents/flight checklists etc) and the Inspire 1 drone (more later), what sets this case apart from the rest is the additional separate and optional storage areas for priority ancillaries.  Six TB-series Inspire 1 batteries are stored perfectly within a removeable foam tray (see above) where underneath is another storage area for the other ancillaries including battery charging cables, both X3 & X5 cameras, additional optics including X5 lenses, GoPro cameras and cables - we even managed to safely store in the main part a 7" field monitor, its power and HDMI cables within one of the recesses for the Inspire's motor arms (illustrated below).

As an example of how Panzer Cases have put a lot of thought towards the case's design to alleviate many equipment storage problems, the TB-series battery tray can be interchanged with one of the foam storage trays from within the smaller auxiliary case which is also part of the Aurora case range (see images below).  This has been cleverly thought out by Panzer Cases in so that batteries can removed from the main Inspire case and instead be hand carried within the auxiliary case as cabin/hand luggage should airline carriers require this on safety grounds for flights.  However, and should you have more TB47 batteries needed for use and onward transit, Panzer Cases also have a dedicated Aurora battery case product for them.

The Inspire 1 drone is supported by its legs both in the travel and flight modes and partially by foam parts deep within the centre of the case which contacts and comfortably supports the main underside body part of the drone.

 Deep recesses to accommodate the Inspire 1 in both Flight and Travel modes.

Deep recesses to accommodate the Inspire 1 in both Flight and Travel modes.

With the Inspire 1 in flight position mode the landing gear is close to the bottom of the case (see below left image) with no foam lining between the case's bottom and the landing gear feet.  We're not sure how much of an issue that would be in the event of an impact but we would opt to add a little more foam at the bottom on the case just to offer a little more protection.  We're confident it will be fine for short journeys but for long international trips we'd recommend having the Inspire 1 configured in its "travel mode" with camera removed (see below right image).

As stated before, additional and ample storage space is offered within the recesses both above the motor arms if the Inspire is in flight position mode or below the motor arms if the Inspire is in the travel position mode.

Inspire 1 (in Flight Mode).

Inspire 1 (in Travel Mode).

CONCLUSION

Without a doubt this is an exceptional case!  The robustness of the case's exterior, the design of the storage layout within, the quality of the protective foam and, unlike some other cases that dictate how and where you store your Inspire 1 drone and its associated equipment, the diverse ancillary storage options within is superb.

Panzer Cases have really put in a lot of thought to every aspect of it’s internal design and have worked hard researching, learning and understanding what can be improved upon from feedback from drone users of other cases (including us) to alleviate the problems of storing an ever increasing amount of drone-supporting equipment and transporting them safely all in one, albeit, large case.

Without long term practical "field testing" (this will be subject of a future review blog post by us) yet it’s hard to say how the case itself will stand up to the rigours of travel but we're confident it will and we look forward to putting it to test soon.


PANZER CASE INSPIRE 1 DRONE TB-SERIES BATTERY CASE
and

PANZER CASE INSPIRE 1 DRONE SMART POWERCHARGE CASE

External Dimensions: 410mm (L) x 342mm (W) x 204mm (H)
Internal Dimensions: 380mm (L) x 271mm (W) x 178.5mm (H)
Weight: 3.98kg
Buoyancy Max: 17.4kg
Volume (Ltr): 17.9
Material: Engineering Resin & Glass Fibre
IP Rating: IP67

Both cases are hosted within a 17.9 litre resin and class fibre air-transportable hard case and like the 145.84 litre case for the Inspire 1 drone, their builds feel solid and have a dark marble grey professional look too.

Both cases feature a single carrying handle at the front, is robust and unlike the Inspire 1 drone case, are rubber lined for extra grip.  As the cases are the same externally, the front also features a manual pressure release in the centre.

 Panzer Case Inspire 1 Drone TB-Series Battery Case.

Panzer Case Inspire 1 Drone TB-Series Battery Case.

 Panzer Case Inspire 1 Drone Smart Powercharge Case.

Panzer Case Inspire 1 Drone Smart Powercharge Case.

 Case easily accommodates 8 x TB-Series batteries and power charging cables.

Case easily accommodates 8 x TB-Series batteries and power charging cables.

 Case easily accommodates the Smart Powercharge Station, power and equipment charging cables.

Case easily accommodates the Smart Powercharge Station, power and equipment charging cables.

PANZER CASE INSPIRE 1 DRONE AUXILIARY CASE

External Dimensions: 479mm (L) x 415mm (W) x 217mm (H)
Internal Dimensions: 448mm (L) x 345mm (W) x 186mm (H)
Weight: 5.18kg
Buoyancy Max: 26.8kg
Volume (Ltr): 28.5
Material: Engineering Resin & Glass Fibre
IP Rating: IP67

This case is hosted within a 28.5 litre resin and class fibre air-transportable hard case and, like the 17.9 litre battery and smart powercharge cases for the Inspire 1 drone, its build is solid, has a dark marble grey professional look and also features a single rubber lined carrying handle at the front with a manual pressure release in the centre.

Like their other Aurora cases, the foam is the same type which is of exceptional quality and we were able to accommodate a plethora of ancillary equipment including X3, X5 and GoPro/Firefly cameras, X5 lenses, ND filters, battery charging cables/hub and harnesses - we even managed to accommodate several 3D-printed mounts for our other sensing cameras with ample room to spare (see image below).

The auxiliary case is also handy at storing those delicate items that you may not want to be transported with the Inspire 1 drone in the larger flight case and, as described previously, the larger of the two foam insert (see below) can be swapped for the battery foam tray in the Inspire 1 case to transport batteries as cabin/hand luggage should airline carriers require this.

CONCLUSION

Much like their larger and superb Inspire 1 drone case counterpart, these ancillary equipment cases are also exceptional both in quality and their offering of individual practical storage solutions and Panzer Cases have truely put in a lot of thought into every aspect of their individual internal designs alleviating the struggle of storing an ever increasing amount of drone-supporting equipment and transporting them safely all in their dedicated cases.  Panzer Cases even express that all of the Aurora case range for the Inspire 1 drone do have a "Lifetime Warranty" which covers case handles, hinges and pins, brackets, wheels, lock fixings (including their pins), valves - even the case seals.

Should you wish need to know more information about the whole Aurora case range for the DJI Inspire 1 drone with prices, worldwide delivery etc, this can be found by visiting www.panzercases.co.uk, checking out their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/panzercases or emailing "info@panzercases.co.uk"