5 Safety Tips For Flying Your Drone on The Beach.

I’ve flown my drone near beaches and found that while you can get great footage, that it comes with it’s own risks worth knowing about beforehand.

Because if you don’t, there’s a good likelihood that your model can be damaged. In about a month I will be traveling to a place where shooting footage on the beach is a must (Florida), but before I do, I’m going to make sure I have these 5 safety tips down, ones which I recommend you also consider:

Tip 1: Know if the beach you’re flying on is actually safe to fly in.

There are a lot of no fly zones for drones these days so knowing whether or not your chosen beach is safe or not is a must. Download an app like Air Map to know this stuff. Very often, it’ll tell you if there’s any restrictions in your area and/or if you need to contact the FAA for permission. 

The areas I’m going to for example have a lot of airports near them, and while I did see that my areas are 5 miles or more out (considered safe), I also saw some restrictions nevertheless on the Air Map app. This safety tip is one of the most important I can give you.

Tip 2: I wouldn’t recommend flying if it’s windy.

While many good drones out there such as the Mavic or Phantom 4 Pro are VERY wind resistant, the problem with beaches and high winds is that sand is everywhere and the last thing I want is for it to get into the vents or motors. 

I personally would not recommend using your model in this condition. Wait it out, it’ll be worth it. Also should you encounter a situation where it’s not windy and you are about to take the drone out and suddenly it becomes windy, make sure you at least have these motor plugs protecting your motors. They’ll make sure NOTHING gets in.

Here’s what it looks like on my P4:

But even more importantly, just keep your model in its case when you get onto the beach and analyze the situation carefully before proceeding to fly.

Tip 3: Don’t rely on landing it on the ground, catch it with your hands (if you’re experienced).

I really don’t like the idea of my expensive drone, landing on sand.

With it’s powerful propellers, you can bet that it’ll make a lot of wind and cause a lot of sand to fly around near it. So when I am ready to land it, I’ll make sure to catch it. This will help me avoid the potential for sand getting in.

And by the way, this tip also applies to take off as well. If you can use your hands to do it, do it. Or at least find a place away from the beach where there’s no sand to lift off in.

And while it’s also dangerous to catch a drone with your hands if you’re not experienced, make sure you practice first beforehand. Or at least land the drone away from the sand on land if you’re worried about getting cut.

Tip 4: Stay close to shore or at least in it’s vicinity.

I’ve made an article before on range tests and that beaches are sometimes the best places to do it because there’s a lot of open space, very little signal interruption and if you look at many of the range tests done on YouTube for example for the various models out there, they are on beaches.

But anyway, whether or not that is the purpose of your flight, my advice is to always stay close enough to shore or land for that matter so that if something happens, you can at least land on…actual land. Issues over water are the last place you want issues to actually happen…

So take those beautiful shots, fly over the water, but just do it so that you know you can come back to shore anytime without issues.

Tip 5: Try not to stay too close to the water.

Waves and the sea are unpredictable. Unless the water is so calm and there’s no storm or wind in sight/feeling, don’t stay too close to the water. You never know if a fish may pop up or some other sea animal may think of it as prey or accidentally jump into it. Its rare for this to happen, but why risk it if you have an expensive drone anyway?

And if your drone does get water damage, depending on what kind it is, will determine if you ever get to fly it again (Salt water is something you never want to get on or INTO your drone).

Also, here’s another safety tip:

Do not fly next to or close to or film people, especially those who are trying to relax and enjoy a good time. How would you like it if you were trying to relax and someone was flying their loud drone close or over you? Or what if the wind from the propeller was making sand get on them? That’s just rude and something you could be arrested for or start trouble from. Just stay away from people unless it’s yourself or a friend who knows you’re filming doing it.

In addition, since animals like seagulls are often present there, avoid them as well. I understand the curiosity to film birds, but their way of flying can be unpredictable and you don’t want to hurt a bird or your drone, so if you’re going to film them, stay out of their range. 

Other than this…

Enjoy the experience. Beaches are often one of the most beautiful places to film in. You can record wildlife/sea life (from a distance). Imagine taking shots of dolphins or whales and other sea life. 

Imagine filming the clear water. Imagine filming a beautiful sunset or even a storm (in the distance!). There’s so many things you could do with your drone in these areas worth trying out. But remember, be responsible about this stuff. A responsible pilot is the one that everyone should strive to be. It will help create less restrictive laws since they are that today because of irresponsible pilots…

A Drone Pre Flight Checklist. Do These 11 Things Before Flying.

I’ve developed a habit of making sure that I have 10 pre flight checklists crossed out before I fly my drone and I’d like to share them with you today.

Now if you are a fellow drone pilot, I’d like to ask you to also comment on this post and tell me what pre flight things you do before you use your drone because every pilot is different. 

Now most crashes occur due to the pilot’s stupidity and while not everything a pilot does correctly will guarantee a safe flight, the following 10 things will reduce and even remove most of the reasons why drones crash in the first place. This will save you a huge headache and a lot of money, especially if you own an expensive model…

And even though there’s 10 things I usually do, they honestly take a few minutes to be completed and considering how they reduce the risk of a crash (or fine) substantially, they are worth doing.

11) Make sure your battery has time to warm up.

If you haven’t used your drone in awhile and start it up, give it a few minutes to warm up, especially if it’s in cold weather. And like I recommend in this article, when you turn off the drone and/or take the battery out, do NOT charge it again until it cools down (give it 20 minutes at least!).

10) Ensure the IMU is calibrated before takeoff.

The IMU on a drone is one of the most important pre flight things you need to ensure is working well. It is basically the “internal computer” of the drone that measures a lot of different things such as the temperature, the speed at which it flies and a bunch of other important components that lead to a safe flight.

If you have a good model drone that does a check up of the IMU when you start it up, it’ll usually let you know if it’s necessary to do or not. Some pilots prefer to calibrate the IMU every time before a flight. I typically do it whenever the I get the notification. 

The point here is to NEVER ignore that notification if it pops up. If it does pop up, calibrate it, as it only takes a few seconds.

9) Ensure your compass is also calibrated.

The compass on the drone will usually pick up if there’s any metal in the area you’re seeking to take off from, which is why I NEVER suggest taking off near places which have a lot of metal such as bridges. These kinds of things typically mess with the compass of a drone and require that it be calibrated in order for it to fly accurately, lest you’re OK with flying in atti mode and risking a crash happening if you’re inexperienced…

Again, just like with the IMU: Ensure the compass is calibrated beforehand. My Mavic 2 Pro always gives me a compass calibration message when I try to fly in new areas and I always make sure it’s done.

Note: Don’t take off from a car, because that typically triggers compass calibration errors.

8) Ensure that you give your drone ample time to load up and show you that it’s OK to take off.

While lower end drones will typically not have this function, the higher end ones will. ALL of my DJI model drones take some time to load up and give me the green “good to go” sign that it’s fine to take off. Until I get that sign, I will never take off.

Depending on which area you wish to fly in, that “Green ok to go” sign may pop up quickly or take sometime to show up. I’ve had cases where even my best drones, took several minutes to show me that it was OK to fly.

What happens when you start up these kinds of drones is that they try to find a signal with the remote, satellites and so on and if you’re in a bad reception area, such as the mountains, that may take longer than if you were in an open field with a good connection.

Either way, let that load up time happen and don’t take off until you get the green sign that it’s OK.

And while it’s loading up, make sure the battery isn’t low!

7) Calibrate the gimbal just in case.

I tend to keep my drones in backpacks or special boxes that are designed to hold the model/s I own. But what I’ll usually do is I’ll drive to the area I wish to fly in, and during the drive, my car will hit bumps and turns. Now while my drone is safe in the case it’s in, the gimbal is very sensitive and will move around, even when it had a gimbal guard. That shaking may affect the health of the gimbal, which is why a calibration before takeoff is important. Do it.

This is also important to do if you haven’t flown your drone in awhile (several weeks and more).

6) Use the Airmap app to determine if it’s really safe to fly.

I always use this free app as one of my pre flight habits. The goal with this app is to make sure I am not violating any FAA rules in place, such as flying in national parks or near an airport and in my opinion, this is a great app for making sure this is fine.

If I see the OK sign from it (green), then I’ll continue with the unpacking and setting up of my drone. If not, I’ll ensure I move to a spot where it’s legal for me to fly.

5) Ensure your drone is on a flat surface.

A take off from an uneven surface may affect how the drone behaves and may increase the chances of a crash, so if it’s possible, find a flat surface. I don’t really recommend using your hand unless you’re an expert. It’s dangerous, so stick to a flat surface.

4) Check the surrounding area for wires, telephone poles, annoying people, ect…

I typically make sure that whenever I fly, I’m in an area where they are few or ideally NO people. I don’t like the attention I get from onlookers who are typically positive about the drone, but at the same time, I also look for things like telephone wires and most recently radio towers, as they can emit signals that can mess up my drone’s connection to the remote (see this near crash story).

My ideal take off area is in an open field (like a baseball sized field) with no people around.

3) Check the propellers.

I’m part of a drone community on Facebook and recently I received a notification someone posted about how they checked their propeller before attaching it onto the drone and noticed one of the parts that attaches to the model was broken. There were normally 3 attachments on the propeller, but with the broken piece, it was only 2.

This meant if the pilot hadn’t seen this and attached the propeller to the drone, it would likely have flown off and caused a crash. 

This was a major pre flight thing I decided to start doing and recommend you do it too. Most propellers are made of plastic and with the speed at which they spin, and/or if they hit debree, overtime, this can cause them to get damaged and possibly broken. Make sure your propellers are in one piece and nothing is broken.

If anything seems off, don’t use the propeller and have extras in store just in case. 

2) Make sure sports mode isn’t on.

High end models typically have this type of feature and it’s usually activated by switching on a button. Sometimes that button can accidentally get switched on when you put your drone in special case. It’s happened to me multiple times and once it’s up and flying, you may accidentally think you’re flying in one direction slowly, when in reality, it’ll happen quickly and this can take you by surprise. Crashes do happen because of this…

1) Do a pre flight examination of the area you’re going to fly in.

I typically use my drone in places I drive through which often happen on vacations when I visit spots I’ve never visited. When I see the potential to stop and take a great video/shot of the location. I first examine the area and see where I’d like to fly past and through. 

This gives me a “game plan” of what I’d like to capture. Going impromptu is also an option but sometimes those few seconds or even a minute of examining the area may have you see or find something that could have jeopardized the flight and if you notice it before hand, you’ll be able to avoid it.

Should I Buy a Phantom 4 Pro V2.0? Here’s Your Answer.

If you own a Phantom 4 Advanced, or a Pro version of it (1.0), then I would 100% not get the V2.0 at all. And if you don’t own one of those, then yes, you should.

Very recently, DJI released a brand new drone model, an “evolved”, 2.0 version of one of it’s top models: The Phantom 4 Pro, a model that I happen to own (and love!).

With every new model DJI releases, there’s always a group of people who can’t wait to get it and then there’s some who already own a previous version of the new release and want to know if it’s worth upgrading. 

As there’s a lot of questions surrounding the new P4P V2.0, I’ll be answering the most common questions, including:

  • How different is the new P4P V2.0 compared to the old P4P? 
  • What’s so different about this new model? Is it really that special?
  • If you own a P4P already, should you get this new one? I already answered this.
  • What about if you’ve never owned a Phantom? Is this the right time to buy it? Well it depends (The Mavic 2 Pro is an option now).

So let’s clarify everything you need to know about this new model:

I own a P4P, how similar is to the P4P V2.0?

If you’re like me an already have a P4P (my review of it), then it’s about 99% the same as the “new” version. As a quick spec rundown, here’s what’s still exactly the same:

  • Same exact camera.
  • Same exact range.
  • Same exact body.
  • Same 5 sensors to detect obstacles.
  • Same intelligent flight modes.
  • Same exact intelligence system to fly safely.

So yeah, it’s 99% the same like I said. And if you own the advanced version of the P4P, everything is still the same EXCEPT it has 2 sensors, not 5.

Alright, so what then is so special about the new version?

Well there’s 4 minor upgrades that stand out, at least if you compare it to the previous P4P model:

-It has an advanced ESC system which allows for longer flight time, but only a few minutes at best.

-There’s new, low noise propellers which also add to the flight time. This is likely to become a thing you can purchase if you own a previous Phantom 4 model. I know because DJI did the same thing with the Mavic Pro when the Platinum version came out.

-There is an ocusync change up in the transmission between the remote, the drone and if you choose to connect it to your DJI goggles. This new change will allow you to have a better transmission between the Goggles and drone.

-And finally, the remote controller itself, whether you buy this model without the screen or with it, the remote itself has a vent on it. I don’t know if it’s for ventilation or if acts as a mic though.

Should people who own a P4P get the new model?

I do not see ANY good reason to do it. You’re just buying pretty much the exact same drone twice if you do. The only thing you’d gain from the new model is a slightly better flight time.

And like I said, the new propellers will become available (if they aren’t already) so P4P owners like me will be able to buy it, have a quieter Phantom and we’ll also gain a little bit of extra flight time in the process. You’re really not missing out on anything grand if you decide NOT to get the 2.0.

I had the same conclusion about the Mavic Pro platinum and said if you owned the original, you didn’t need to upgrade to the new one, it made no sense…

But what if I do not own a P4P or any Phantom for that matter?

Then you can absolutely get the new version. Not only is it 99% the same as the old one, but the price is the same.

  • The original P4P was $1,500, so is this one.
  • The original P4P+ (with the screen attached to the remote) was $1,800. This one is too. 

So if you’re hungry for a NEW Phantom model, yeah, get this. But if you’re also a little bit tighter on cash, wait for the Phantom 5. At this point, it’ll be worth it.

In summation, DJI is doing the same thing with the 2.0 as it did with the Mavic Pro Platinum:

Before they release the next generation models (Mavic Pro 2 and P5), DJI is following in the same footsteps it did when the Mavic Pro was so popular, that they released a slightly upgraded version known as the Mavic Pro Platinum which like the 2.0 model also had better propellers (which you could buy separately) and an improved ESC system for slightly longer flight times.

As a Mavic Pro owner, I elected NOT to get the Platinum because not only was it $100 more (for the base), but I felt like it was a waste of money. All I did was I got myself the advanced propellers and I was perfectly happy. I am sure that once I do the same with the new propellers for the Phantom, it’ll produce the same results. 

While I am disappointing that there’s still no word on the P5 or the Mavic Pro 2, I feel like DJI is milking all it can for it’s existing models. I hope they haven’t run out of ideas (I doubt it). Maybe this release was just a move to keep DJI fans satisfied while competitors like Autel release their new Evo drone.

I honestly don’t know, but the P4P itself is already so advanced that there’s very little the 2.0 does to add to it. A few minutes of extra flight time on an already long flying drone doesn’t make a difference to me.

I do like the idea of the new propellers and have always wanted to see something like this, as the P4P is very loud and it can also be annoying too, so yes, this would be the only reasonable purchase for existing P4P users. Otherwise, my honest opinion is to wait for the P5. That’s exactly what I’m doing…

And again, I did an official review of the P4P here. It was 95 points. The 2.0 will be rated exactly the same and all links will now point to the 2.0 page. Since the price is the same and the model is 99% the same too as the old one, it’s just the right change to make.

So sum it up once again:

  • The 2.0 model is 99% identical to the P4P.
  • There’s 4 MINOR improvements to the new model.
  • The price point is exactly the same.
  • People who own a P4P should avoid buying the 2.0 and just get the propellers. 
  • People who have money to spare, who have never owned a Phantom should consider getting the 2.0.
  • People who don’t have money to spare, never owned, but want a Phantom should wait for the P5 to come out. It’s expected to happen before the end of 2018 and in my opinion, it’s worth the wait.

Why Hobby Drones Are Not as Dangerous as You Think.

Ask people who have never flown a drone (UAVs), but know about the hobby or see someone flying it and you may find that most have a negative view of it.

They think it’s dangerous, that people are doing nothing but flying around, risking lives, crashing everywhere, into everyone, invading other people’s privacy and causing immense distress all around.

But take those same people, have them fly and understand how the hobby works, and you will find that most of them may come around to thinking differently about this industry. That was certainly the case for me.

Despite knowing very little about drones, way before I purchased it, I equated them to the predator ones you hear about being used in war and so that was my original, negative assumption, and then as they became more popular, my understanding shifted to the general stereotype I stated above about them, but as I began seeing videos of people filming with these things and the possibilities of what type of beautiful footage could be captured, mixed in with my passion to hike and see beautiful places, I went from being a complete NO to a complete YES in buying my first workable drone (The Mavic Pro, there was a different model prior which didn’t work).

After having flown for quite awhile, not just with the Mavic but with others, plus having seen from others how to fly and how not to fly, I’ve determined that drones themselves are generally not dangerous, however…

There are 2 particular situations in which UAVs CAN be dangerous, but if the proper safety protocols are exercised and most of the time, it’s nothing more than common sense, the danger is mostly nullified. And yes, I will explain each danger and safety protocol to avoid it…

Situation 1: Danger mainly arises when people incorrectly fly drones…

With every video of people flying these things, getting into trouble, crashes, ect… as well as my own “close call” experiences, 99% of the time it is the pilot who is at fault (see common reasons crashes occur), not the drone and it is very easy to make a mistake (if you remove common sense) and crash these things.

Now common sense when it comes to UAVs should be something that most people should know about, things like not flying over or near people, not flying over houses or private property, airports, disturbing people/animals, ect… and I’ll tell you what, before I got my first drone, I already knew these things, but just to be sure…

I took a look at the official FAA site which clarified these things I already assumed were rules and added to it. This is what every single new pilot should do: 

1) Look at the official FAA website and see the rules of flying these things.

2) Look at YouTube videos on how to fly UAVs safely. Believe me, at this point, there’s more than enough knowledge out there and mistakes tons of people have made that will help future fliers avoid them.

Now besides the general rules, here’s where things like common sense come into flying drones:

1) Suppose you are flying one above a tree line and can’t see it. Does your drone have a camera and if so, does it transmit what it sees to you? If not, then DO NOT fly it beyond your sight.

2) What if you’re flying, can see everything perfectly, but someone is jogging right underneath the drone? Move it away so if ANYTHING happens, you will NOT harm the person.

3) Are you flying in a neighborhood where there’s private property? Well make sure you don’t fly into someone’s property. 

4) Are you flying near a hill and the closer you get to it, the higher it gets? What should you do? Raise the drone higher as the cliff raises higher, so you don’t crash into the land. 

5) Do note that every single one of the models out there has a limited battery life and flight time, and you SHOULD read up on how long your’s can fly BEFORE you actually fly to ensure that if you don’t fly too far and then have a hard time finding it, or for that matter ensure, that when it has to land, it can land safely on ground, not water, no an elevated area where it can fall, ect…

See things like these should be COMMON sense to fliers and I’ll tell you what, a LARGE majority of fliers that I know follow these rules. I don’t know the exact statistics, but it is a VERY small minority of people, possibly 1% or less who make foolish mistakes with their UAVs. 

Unfortunately, the people who do make the mistakes are the ones who give the safe fliers a hard time because it is because of them that the UAV industry and it’s regulations have become so complicated and restrictive. If we are to restore a more open, safer flying space to enjoy this hobby, then moving forward, there have to be even less instances of people making foolish mistakes. Here’s more safety tips.

I know there’s going to be fools out there that ignore all the UAV flying rules and will fly as freely as they wish, perhaps even maliciously (jail those people…). No matter how many rules you set in anything, there will be fools and crazy people who will find a way to break it…

In those cases, give people the right to report them and have them get fined/jailed accordingly if necessary, to filter out the VERY small minority of bad fliers and give the good fliers room to fly…

Fortunately there are already good rules in place, but often very restrictive and complex. And they are restrictive and complex because of the bad flyers…

Situation 2: You may be a good flier, but your drone may not be capable of flying well…

This industry is still growing and while it has come far, a lot of new, beginner fliers tend to get into this hobby through buying lesser and lower quality models. 

While you may exercise every common sense thing you can imagine when flying, the truth is that it is never 100% certain that your flight will be 100% safe because even if you follow all the rules, weather circumstances and other miscellaneous situations may arise while flying that endanger your flight, and most likely it will happen if your model isn’t capable of handling the likely/tough situations that may come about.

It is like driving, you could be a very safe driver, but there’s also others on the road. The others in this case represent potential circumstances you didn’t see occurring during your flights.

One way to ensure this issue is minimized is to get higher quality UAVs that have safety features such as sensors, auto pilot modes to protect the model itself and most obstacles it may encounter as well as other things to keep it flying and landing safely. 

I wrote about beginner drones people should get and recommended some higher tier ones to make sure that in addition to being a safe flier, that you’ll also have the insurance of knowing your model will fly safely should something happen. I also updated that beginner drone article with more choices.

Because my experience with UAVs has mainly been good so far (because I combine common sense with higher, safer models), these is the same advice I am passing off to new fliers. But I do have near accidents with my drones from time to time (here’s the most recent). Thankfully using common sense, I was able to land the drone safely!

Know that this IS a very safe hobby, but it takes personal responsibility to make sure of this:

I am very strict with myself on how I fly my UAVs and while I take risky shots every now and then, the main goal I always have is that EVEN if something bad happens to my drone, it will NOT harm anyone or anything (other than my wallet :(). IN other words, when I fly, I make sure no one is near me at any point to ensure that if something (unlikely) happens, that no one will ever get hurt.

In my opinion this should be the main priority for any flier out there.

Of course I also want to make sure my model doesn’t break or get lost at the same time, but this is something you will learn to access and exercise as you become a better flier and that will take practice. In the meantime, here are 10 great tips you should keep in mind when flying. These tips will only add to helping you maintain a safe flight.

At the end of the day, the fact is an overwhelming amount of UAV users out there are safe, competent fliers and you if you are still doubtful that this can be a fun, safe hobby, remember that the statistics will always be in favor of the safer flyers. Do not let the dangerous, reckless flyers make you think this hobby is dangerous. It can be, but it isn’t because most people are responsible!

What is Atti Mode on DJI Drones? It’s Dangers And Benefits.

Atti (attitude) mode is an interesting feature that DJI drones have, it’s when your GPS does not work properly or at all (maybe in the mountains for example), and as a result, the bird will not be able to hover in one place or use it’s intelligent flight features.

It will actually move around whether you push it lightly or if the wind moves it and this feature can actually be very dangerous if you’re unfamiliar with it, but if you become more experienced, there are massive benefits to flying with it on and I’ll explain it here.

what is atti mode on drones

First of all, let me tell you a “funny” story of how I was first introduced to atti mode…

A friend of mine was visiting my area with his girlfriend and she was (and is) a Vlogger. At the time, she was hired by a company to travel the stats and Canada to film certain locations and the same company provided her with a Mavic Pro drone, which I also own.

But the problem was she had never used it or even opened up the box because she was scared that it would fly away, that it would crash, that it would hurt her, basically the usual worries people have when they don’t understand these machines. So she basically carried it around with her all the time but never used it.

When I heard this, I offered to set up everything for her and show her how safe it was to use the Mavic Pro. After charging the battery, installing the DJI Go 4 app and updating the firmware, I was ready to show her how it works, but the problem was, we couldn’t go outside to fly it because it was dark, so we all decided to stay in their apartment and fly it there and when I say fly, I mean having it hover in one spot so I can show them it’s features (there was very little space to actually fly around in).

When I turned it on, I was surprised to see that I could not get a GPS signal (we were located in the city, so there were plenty of satellites in the area to catch a signal). In fact, all I saw was atti mode.

Now I had seen this before on my other birds (including the Phantom 4 Pro) but I never bothered to study it because it would quickly switch back to GPS mode, so I didn’t mind it. But after waiting for the GPS signal to be found, it wasn’t, it remained on atti mode and I decided to take a risk by taking off.

As the Mavic Pro lifted into the air, it started to drift backwards, right at me. I was freaked out (and so was she) that  it was doing this and eventually it could not back anymore because I was cornered between it and the kitchen, so I decided to make a move and catch it the air with my hand. This luckily resulted in a safe “landing”. I then tried to fly it again, and the result was still the same thing.

This event pushed me to discover more about the atti mode feature and as for the girl, last I heard, she was still scared of drones. So much for my brave attempt at showing off…

Here’s what I learned about the atti mode feature:

1) When there is no GPS signal and the drone/controller is turned on, this feature will activate.

It’s basically a way to keep flying it without having to go through the red tape of safety set up. 

2) There are scenarios in which this feature will turn on. This includes:

-As I said when there is no GPS signal.

-When there is too much metallic interference in the area (radio towers, magnetic interference, bad connection to the drone, ect…). This was the case when I tried to show the girl how to use her Mavic Pro, but didn’t realize there was metal all over the apartment which interfered with the GPS. I only later realized this). 

-You MANUALLY turn it on. You may be wondering why in the world you’d want to do this, but I will explain in a bit why there actually are MAJOR benefits to using this option.

-When the weather is very cloudy or there is some sort of signal interference in your area which interferes with the GPS signal.

3) When it’s on, the following features will be turned OFF on your drone:

  • Return to home.
  • Obstacle avoidance.
  • GPS location.

Basically many of the safety features will be removed once the feature is on.

Ok so let’s talk about the dangers of this:

-If you are beginner like I was when I first discovered this mode, you are more likely to run into trouble flying your drone.

-There is a WAY higher chance of a crash happening as obstacle avoidance does not work.

-There is drift happening and your model WILL move on it’s own. It will not remain still in the air and this can have it crash into an obstacle.

-The ability for the drone to fly further and better is reduced as the GPS signal helps it’s safety features work well. Fly it within your eye range if you have to. 

-If a fly away happens, the drone will NOT return to it’s original take off point. Make sure to keep it within range so the signal between you and the remote is strong (it is literally the only thing connecting you to the model).

-For DJI Spark users and Mavic Pro (Mavic Air people too) who use their phone to control their model, my advice would be NOT to even try it. Use a remote, as the signal will be much stronger. Even with a cell phone’s reduced signal range, it’s still tougher to fly with the phone than with a remote. 

Think of an auto pilot system turned off and you being forced to control everything yourself without help, that’s atti mode in a nutshell. And speaking of the Spark, it hit me a surprise atti mode recently and almost caused it to crash (this is what happened).

Now for the benefits, yep there’s actually some good ones!

People who first experience atti mode on their drone may freak out like I did and never want to fly it that way, but in my case, as time passed, and I started to dig deeper into this feature, wanting to find out just why drones have it and as I said on the Phantom 4 Pro, you can literally SWITCH to it. There has to be an intelligent reason why this exists right? Well there are a few:

-Firstly the ability to fly in VERY narrow corners becomes more possible.

With obstacle avoidance working on drones all the time, sometimes being in a tight corner like in between rocks (like I often encounter on hikes) will make your obstacle avoidance go crazy and if you’re not careful, if the drone senses an obstacle and bounces away from it, being in the tight corner, it can easily crash into another corner. Atti mode removes this danger by letting YOU, the pilot have FULL control over it. Yes it will drift, but it beats having an auto pilot obstacle avoidance screwing you up.

-It is more challenging to pilot your drone in this and some people may like this.

Personally I am not one of them, but I can see reasons and scenarios in which an advanced pilot will need this feature to get a great shot.

There are more reasons, but I honestly do not want to mention them because people may misuse them. I’d rather you use this feature in these 2 circumstances and also do note that you should ALWAYS adhere to the flight rules in your region.

Having a safe flight with atti mode on. How to do it:

1) Know that it can be turned on, on it’s own or you can also turn it on. If you elect to turn it on, be ready to fly more carefully as the danger of a crash increases.

2) Fly within your eyesight view. The signal between you and the remote will be stronger so there’s less chances of who knows what happening and the drone flying away or not catching the signal.

3) Only use this feature IF you’re an advanced pilot and understand how this feature works.

Practice it in an open, safe area where if something happens, you can land it safely and not hurt anyone. And also have other experience with flying in that if something happens, you can think quick and take safe action/s. You should be able to pilot the model very well before trying this feature out.

4) Have experience catching the model with your hand. In my case, where I fly, usually there aren’t any flat landing areas, so I have to rely on myself to catch it.