DJI’s Mavic Pro folds to the size of a water bottle.

Since the Federal Aviation Administration opened its drone registry at the end of last year, sales of small unmanned aircraft have skyrocketed.

In December 2015, sales grew five and a half times from the previous year, according to NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service, and in March the FAA released predictions that drone sales would reach 2.5 million annually by the end of 2016.

One of the most anticipated drones this year, the foldable Mavic Pro from industry leader DJI, was in such high demand the China-based company has been struggling to get its drones out the door by its expected shipping dates. DJI chalked the setback up to a problem with one of the parts in the manufacturing process; the Mavic has been shipping preorders, albeit slower than anticipated.

Now, if you want a Mavic Pro you can order one, but according to the company website, you’re unlikely to get it until mid-January, so not in time for holiday gift giving.

DJI did manage to get one to Recode, though.

The Mavic is branded as a kind of personal drone that’s good for beginners. It’s small enough to fit in a backpack (it folds into the size of a water bottle) and can actually follow you (or a dog or your friend) around thanks to its onboard artifical intellegence.

We flew the Mavic Pro at the SF Drone School on Treasure Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.

At $999 it’s not cheap, but it is fun to fly, even if you have little to no experience with drones.

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Author: April Glaser

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