Tips For New Phantom Owners

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Premium Pilot
Feb 9, 2014
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Live! From New York!
One of the most important things you can do is to fully read and understand the manual for your new Phantom. You will find them on the DJI web site for your particular version.

1. Inspect your aircraft and batteries

Before you head out to fly, make sure that the batteries in your remote controller and aircraft including any spares are all fully charged. You never want to have to land just when you've found a beautiful scene to film or photograph, and batteries sometimes are not completely accurate when showing their charged status. To avoid any such worries, charge your batteries until they are all fully charged, and then head out and fly.

Check that all propellers are securely mounted to the motors and that none of them are damaged or worn. Inspect the rest of the aircraft and replace or repair damaged parts before flight.

2. Calibrate your compass before taking off (**newer models don't necessarily require this)

Before you take off from a new site that is far from the last place you calibrated the compass, you should always calibrate your compass. Each location has slightly different electromagnetic profiles and for best performance and most accurate positioning, you should calibrate for each specific location. Calibrating is easy — simply use the DJI GO app and follow the on-screen instructions. This will include how to calibrate the compass in horizontal and vertical directions by rotating it around each axis.

To take full advantage of DJI’s safety features, including Return Home and position stabilization, wait for a strong GPS connection before taking off. Your take off position will then automatically be recorded as the Home Point and you will be able to use the convenient Return to Home button any time you feel it's time to land.

3. Fly in open, outdoor areas

Always choose a wide open area for every flight, well away from people and property. Head out to a large field or similar open space, with no or few trees and buildings. This way, you can more easily focus on learning to operate your aircraft and take your mind off having to precisely control the aircraft to avoid trees and other obstacles.

4. Do not fly over or near people and animals

Another thing to keep in mind when you choose where to fly is to make sure that it isn't crowded with either people or animals as a measure of safety. Though small and harmless, drones may still scare or irritate people and animals that are not used to seeing them. You want to make sure that our hobby has a positive impact on everyone you may encounter, so please be mindful of others when flying.

5. Fly no higher than 400 ft or below structures

In the U.S., the maximum allowed recommended height for flying hobby aircraft is 400 ft., so as to not interfere with full scale aircraft in the regular airspace. It is also advised that you do not fly under any type of structures as that may cause magnetic interference that disturbs the compass in your aircraft. It could also block or degrade the GPS signal and make you lose contact with your Phantom.

6. Maintain your line of sight

Even though the Phantom is capable of flying distances up to 3 miles (5km), you should still be careful to maintain a line of sight to your aircraft at all times. If you fly behind obstacles such as buildings or mountains you can easily lose orientation or have difficulty returning home when your batteries start to deplete.

7. Be aware of orientation and maintain full control

To make it easier for yourself, take off with the aircraft oriented with the green lights facing yourself and the camera facing forward. This way, it will be much easier for you to know where the camera is pointed when you want to capture a video or photo. You can also turn on Course Lock to lock the camera's direction, making it even easier to fly and capture footage.

The DJI Phantom series are incredibly easy to use thanks to the integrated software and hardware and the smart functionality in the DJI GO app. However, you should still make sure to always have full control over your aircraft, even when using automatic functions such as auto-takeoff and auto-landing. Keep both hands on the control sticks to maintain control throughout each flight.
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