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Dangers for Novice Phantom 4 Users
4670 38 2016-8-14
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KensPhantom4
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I have been on what can only be called a steep learning curve!...and I thought it might be a good idea to put some of my experiences online.

On taking the Phantom out of the box I found it to be an impressive beast, but as time went on things started to emerge, which well, quite frankly, should have been included in the instructions and in the extras that came with the Phantom. 90% of the information I have obtained came from Youtube videos, which at times was very useful and informative.

1) My Phantom came with 2 Gimbal guards and no one on Youtube, or in the instructions, mentions this second gimbal guard. So to some of you, the Phantom4 warning 'Gimbal Bearing Over Heating' alarm will come as no surprise. However for a novice this lack information about a 2nd  Gimbal guard, and understanding was anything but alarming, but if it was not for the fact that I have some savvy regarding engineering. So be warned there is 2 Gimbal Guards not just one. The second is positioned at the point where the gimbal comes out of the craft. See photos.

2) Prop Guards, can't express my amazement that a company of this stature does not support customer safety as a first priority. On watching many of the Youtube videos I watched at least two or three, which were showing the user grabbing the craft whilst in mid flight. I chose to do this at the end of my first solo flight, because the grass was tall and strong, I didn't want to damage the craft on its first landing. My first mistake was not to even considering this action!...... but because I did and grabbed the craft with my right-hand and pull the controller lever, left hand, and yes you guessed it, the craft tipped towards me (which if I had grabbed the craft with the left hand would of perhaps not happened) placing my arm just below the elbow directly in the blades. (see photos) I refused to let go, because I knew if I did the craft, which was compensating with the remaining 3 blades, would of hurtled towards my face.

It demonstrated to me that this powerful craft is not for the inexperienced young. I'm 56 years old and feeling very stupid, but lucky and lesson learnt.

One other point to make to DJI and that is the photos I've taken are on a black back ground, so as you can see the items. Please can you update your photos in your library of accessories which are mostly white products, on an white back ground, I can't see them!!!!!
  
2ndGimbalGuard.jpg
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2016-8-14
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Visual Air
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Ouch that looks nasty. Hope this heals well for you and sorry this happened.
2016-8-14
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Heebus
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Nasty cuts man, I hope you heal soon, and well. I bought my P4 brand new, never had the top gimble guard that you show here ( or maybe I took it out soo quick I didnt notice it) so good info... As for the catching your drone while landing, no where in any authorized dji tutorial did I see them recommend it, tho I did see plenty that said not to fly or land close to people. I am sure I have seen them ( tho not confimed 100%) say to keep clear of moving props. We should no that this is a possibilty if we take the chance of trying to catch it. Prop guards can be purchased, tho they block the vps sensors. I hope this doesnt prevent you from enjoying your P4, its a fun thing to fly, and I hope others learn from your mistakes ( not a poke at you I seriously hope your ok and heal fast)
2016-8-14
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mart.kask
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i suggest you to watch this video. It clearly shows how to hand catch and hand liftoff your bird Main thing to learn, is that you should always grab the aircraft from the upward (vertical) leg, because otherwize it will tip over, no mater what hand you use

2016-8-14
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Aardvark
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Looks like you learned the hard way, hopefully all will heal soon.

Thought this might be useful:-

2016-8-14
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KensPhantom4
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Heebus Posted at 2016-8-14 18:34
Nasty cuts man, I hope you heal soon, and well. I bought my P4 brand new, never had the top gimble g ...

Thank Heebus, I have ordered the Prop Guards, but only because I could not find any street shop supplier here in the UK who had them in stock!!!. I was in too much of a rush to use my new toy. I think this demonstrates DJI should consider supplying them as a matter of health and safety. Or at least insist the surpliers have instock.
2016-8-14
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KensPhantom4
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mart.kask@hotma Posted at 2016-8-14 21:09
i suggest you to watch this video. It clearly shows how to hand catch and hand liftoff your bird   ...

This was one of the videos I was talking about, and this is exactly how I court the craft with one of the upright legs. Its because I'm right handed that I naturally reached out and grab it, not thinking my left hand is using the wrong controller! When the controller is used in this way it tips towards you!!  Easy mistake if your a novice.
2016-8-14
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KensPhantom4
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Heebus Posted at 2016-8-14 18:34
Nasty cuts man, I hope you heal soon, and well. I bought my P4 brand new, never had the top gimble g ...

Cheers buddy, there are actually 3 cuts one above the open cut and one below.
2016-8-14
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Geebax
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KensPhantom4 Posted at 2016-8-15 14:37
Thank Heebus, I have ordered the Prop Guards, but only because I could not find any street shop su ...

I wonder if you missed the comment by Heebus above, you can buy prop guards, but if you fit them then it negates the Obstacle Avoidance feature of the aircraft. At the same time, the guards also alter the flight characteristics of the aircraft and make it more prone to problems in strong winds.

And the guards are there to protect the prop, they do not work as well in protecting you from the props. In any discussion on this forum, DJI recommend you do not try to hand-catch the aircraft. If you choose to do so, then it is at your own risk.

As for the gimbal lock, yeah, many people don't see it and remove it, but many more do. The bright red sticker telling to you remove it is a bit of a giveaway.
2016-8-14
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KensPhantom4
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Geebax Posted at 2016-8-15 05:48
I wonder if you missed the comment by Heebus above, you can buy prop guards, but if you fit them th ...

I am a Novice GEEBAX, but thanks all the same!
2016-8-14
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DJI-Paladin
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Sorry for your experience. Hope you can get well soon.
2016-8-14
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mart.kask
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KensPhantom4 Posted at 2016-8-15 12:42
This was one of the videos I was talking about, and this is exactly how I court the craft with one ...

Is your controller stick mode the other way? Because if you grab your aircraft by right hand, then the left hand should control the left stick if its in default stick layout. Because I have hand catched my P4 many times with right hand, and nothing has gone bad. And im a novice pilot too Got my P4 July and it was my first drone. (And first RC controlled "toy" in recent years)
2016-8-15
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Aardvark
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Were you using left stick only down, to shut off the motors ?

Using the CSC (Combined Stick Command) method (both sticks down and towards centre), will almost always cause a tilt in the aircraft. Although it would be almost impossible to perform if hand catching.
This applies to ground landing as well, where a number of people have tipped over and been damaged.
2016-8-15
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Mabou2
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Aardvark Posted at 2016-8-14 16:18
Looks like you learned the hard way, hopefully all will heal soon.

Thought this might be useful:-

lol... DJI needs to start selling armor.
2016-8-15
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KensPhantom4
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mart.kask@hotma Posted at 2016-8-14 12:09
i suggest you to watch this video. It clearly shows how to hand catch and hand liftoff your bird  Main thing to learn, is that you should always grab the aircraft from the upward (vertical) leg, because otherwize it will tip over, no mater what hand you use
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ287joX_I0

Yes I watch this video, its what inspired me to try! and yes I did as shown in the photo grip it exactly. The danger is pulling the wrong stick, no amount of grip stops it from tipping into your arm!! BELIEVE ME
2017-2-9
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Lethal
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KensPhantom4 Posted at 2017-2-9 00:29
Yes I watch this video, its what inspired me to try! and yes I did as shown in the photo grip it exactly. The danger is pulling the wrong stick, no amount of grip stops it from tipping into your arm!! BELIEVE ME

Just a suggestion but I carry a heavy rubber doormat that when thrown onto long grass acts as a very good landing area and also gives lots of practice at user control on the aircraft. Not a great fan of hand catching but many do it with out injury.
2017-2-9
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Memento Mori
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KensPhantom4 Posted at 2016-8-14 20:42
This was one of the videos I was talking about, and this is exactly how I court the craft with one of the upright legs. Its because I'm right handed that I naturally reached out and grab it, not thinking my left hand is using the wrong controller! When the controller is used in this way it tips towards you!!  Easy mistake if your a novice.

I'm right handed and also a novice, have always hand caught the bird with my right hand and shut it down with left stick down, I've never had any problems like this.
Hope you heal soon.
2017-2-9
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joe_gadget
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KensPhantom4 Posted at 2017-2-9 00:29
Yes I watch this video, its what inspired me to try! and yes I did as shown in the photo grip it exactly. The danger is pulling the wrong stick, no amount of grip stops it from tipping into your arm!! BELIEVE ME

I have had no problems hand catching (I don't do it when the wind is gusty as the risk of the craft moving suddenly is quite high)

What mode are you flying? With mode 2 it's not possible to tip the craft with your left hand on the stick.  You should not be catching the craft with the hand which is on the same side as the throttle stick as it won't end well. The other thing that you should get is a neck strap. That way you're not holding the remote one handed while trying to operate it at the same time.

The trick is to grasp the leg but DO NOT PULL IT. Then use left stick down to shut the motors down and let the craft fall into your grip.

2017-2-9
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Focus4
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There is a simple solution to the dangers of hand-catching. Don't do it! Learn to land the aircraft on the ground correctly. I have completed many hundreds of landings with a number of different craft, and have never once had a failed landing - or an injury. I can't understand why anyone would want to grab hold of a device with four blades spinning at more than 5000 rpm. I make a living flying these things and the safety regulations adopted by the company I work for calls for us to be 30 feet or more from the aircraft when we land. That's a bit more than it needs to be, but I have all my fingers.
2017-2-10
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Labroides
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KensPhantom4 Posted at 2017-2-9 00:29
Yes I watch this video, its what inspired me to try! and yes I did as shown in the photo grip it exactly. The danger is pulling the wrong stick, no amount of grip stops it from tipping into your arm!! BELIEVE ME

After hundreds of hand catches, I don't believe you.
If you wrap your fingers around the upright with your thumb touching the battery and pull the left stick down there is no tip action at all.
2017-2-10
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joe_gadget
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How do you accidentally press down right stick with your left hand? I don't have fingers that long. Unless OP wasn't using a strap and the controller slipped from his grip or he's on mode 1.
2017-2-11
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PhanFran
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AlecW Posted at 2017-2-10 15:05
I hand catch 50% of the time, never had an issue.

That reminds me of the story of the guy who jumped from the top floor of the Empire State Building in NYC. He fell down and while coming across the 60th, 59th, 58 th etc floor, he said: "What a bunch of nonsens people are telling about the dangers of jumping off high buildings ! I never felt so good in my life !!!"
2017-2-11
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Nigel_
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Labroides Posted at 2017-2-10 16:49
After hundreds of hand catches, I don't believe you.
If you wrap your fingers around the upright with your thumb touching the battery and pull the left stick down there is no tip action at all.

It can tip if you push it since it tries to keep it's position, the harder you push the further it will tip and push back, and it can push back surprisingly hard.

There is also a possibility of affecting its compass if you have magnets in your pockets, eg built into a smartphone, and that could cause a tip.

If you are going to hand catch then:
1. Keep it above your head until the motors have stopped.
2. Never fight it over position, only give it vertical support so that it knows that it is safe to power down the motors.
3. If it wants to move for some reason, such as the vision positioning being disabled due to low light and the GPS wandering about, then let it go because you will never win a fight.

With a little experience I think hand catching is reasonably safe, maybe safer than landing since to land it you have to bring it down below head height and if it then does an unexpected horizontal movement there is a clear danger, with an unexpected movement while hand catching above head height you can just let it go.
2017-2-11
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Labroides
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-2-11 04:14
It can tip if you push it since it tries to keep it's position, the harder you push the further it will tip and push back, and it can push back surprisingly hard.

There is also a possibility of affecting its compass if you have magnets in your pockets, eg built into a smartphone, and that could cause a tip.

"It can tip if you push it since it tries to keep it's position"

If you are catching it, you are hardly likely to be pushing it around.
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joe_gadget
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-2-11 04:14
It can tip if you push it since it tries to keep it's position, the harder you push the further it will tip and push back, and it can push back surprisingly hard.

There is also a possibility of affecting its compass if you have magnets in your pockets, eg built into a smartphone, and that could cause a tip.

Why would you be pushing or pulling at it when hand catching?  Also smartphones don't have magnets in them and I don't know of anyone who usually carries magnets on them



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Nigel_
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joe_gadget Posted at 2017-2-11 04:42
Why would you be pushing or pulling at it when hand catching?  Also smartphones don't have magnets in them and I don't know of anyone who usually carries magnets on them


If you know what you are doing then you wont push or pull it, but the first time you hand catch with no experience, pulling it towards you may be the natural thing to do.

My NVidia Shield K1 has several magnets in it, almost sticks itself to a radiator, and I always have that with me when flying, I keep it well away from the aircraft when calibrating the compass!
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joe_gadget
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-2-11 05:54
If you know what you are doing then you wont push or pull it, but the first time you hand catch with no experience, pulling it towards you may be the natural thing to do.

My NVidia Shield K1 has several magnets in it, almost sticks itself to a radiator, and I always have that with me when flying, I keep it well away from the aircraft when calibrating the compass!

Never knew the K1 had such strong magnets. But technically the comment stands in respect of smartphones
2017-2-11
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Nigel_
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joe_gadget Posted at 2017-2-11 06:28
Never knew the K1 had such strong magnets. But technically the comment stands in respect of smartphones

I think they are for the magnetic cover to align itself correctly over the tablet, but I've only ever used them for attaching a DIY sunshield.

My smartphone also has a magnet, used so that it aligns itself correctly on my car mount for use as a satnav, but I added that magnet myself.
2017-2-11
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fansa84fe8a4
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A real pilot can land his aircraft.  Hand catch is for those unsure of their skills and perhaps need more training or touch down in a more suitable area.  Even bring their own landing pad if needed.

My CFI got annoyed with some students who can take-off, but landing they ask him to take over the yoke, hence not a real pilot.  But least they paid him for more flight lessons due to their lack of skills to land the plane.


2017-2-11
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Aardvark
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I usually hand catch rather than risk damaging the camera filter, or getting sand or dust into the gimbal mechanism. My P4 box makes a good launch pad, and there's precious little skill involved in landing or taking off. The real skill is having the forethought to plan every part of the flight out properly to get the shots that you want and to avoid incidents of any kind.
2017-2-11
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fansa84fe8a4
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AlecW Posted at 2017-2-11 08:40
What on earth are you talking about "real pilots"?  These are drones not real manned aircraft, sometimes it just easier to hand catch if there's nothing flat close by to land on.  Just because you don't do it doesn't make it wrong in anyway and there's no need to get all high and mighty insulting those of us that do so.

I believe my CFI would say to you: "Okay Tyro.  Let's take it around again and try to land better on the next approach."

After more lessons, one should graduate and become a real pilot - or at least that's the theory of flight school and training.  These drones do have pilots, just some are better than others.  If the FAA ever requires a skills test for drones, no doubt hand-catch would be an automatic fail.

2017-2-11
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Col-Drone
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I agree with you.  The product lacks proper instructions.  Like you, most of what I learned prior to obtaining the drone was via YouTube and this forum.  
2017-2-11
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My V. Nguyen
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Hello KensPhantom4:
I  own and fly  Phantom 2, Phantom 3 Advanced and Phantom 4. I often catch my Phantom  drones by hand and never have a mishap like you have had. Obviously you should not try to catch your drone by hand because neither DJI nor any drone manufacturer recommend catching a landing drone by hand, do they? Every drone manufacturer warns the user not to fly above crowds, above clouds, in crowded spaces, etc. Yet, too many people are doing it and post them on UTube to show how cool it is. There was one video of a guy jumping into a pond to rescue his out of control Phantom 2 by catching it by hand! Other than getting wet, he managed to rescue his drone without a scratch! However that was an emergency only! Don't try this for fun, boys and girls.

I discover that the Phantom 4 is an extremely safe and durable quadcopter, the best in the market today. So let it land on sand, on tall grass, on anything other than on water. It will never be damaged. Otherwise. let it hover above ground about 5 feet, put the remote controller on ground, slowly walk to the hovering quadcopter, and catch the landing gears by both hands. Once you have it secured by both hands, ask someone to shut off the motors on the remote controller or you can shut down the drone with the on/off battery button. Do you want me to show how it is done in a video?
Also, the second gimbal guard made of foam belongs to a Phantom 3, not on a Phantom 4, yes? The Phantom 4 only has the clear plastic guard that you need to remove before turning on the drone.

2017-2-11
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Aardvark
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My V. Nguyen Posted at 2017-2-11 10:10
Hello KensPhantom4:
I  own and fly  Phantom 2, Phantom 3 Advanced and Phantom 4. I often catch my Phantom  drones by hand and never have a mishap like you have had. Obviously you should not try to catch your drone by hand because neither DJI nor any drone manufacturer recommend catching a landing drone by hand, do they? Every drone manufacturer warns the user not to fly above crowds, above clouds, in crowded spaces, etc. Yet, too many people are doing it and post them on UTube to show how cool it is. There was one video of a guy jumping into a pond to rescue his out of control Phantom 2 by catching it by hand! Other than getting wet, he managed to rescue his drone without a scratch! However that was an emergency only! Don't try this for fun, boys and girls.

"The Phantom 4 only has the clear plastic guard that you need to remove before turning on the drone."

My Phantom 4, which would have been part of the first batch also had a foam packing piece above camera, now permanently removed:-

.
P4 packing piece - Copy.JPG
2017-2-11
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joe_gadget
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Aardvark Posted at 2017-2-11 08:51
I usually hand catch rather than risk damaging the camera filter, or getting sand or dust into the gimbal mechanism.

Me too, a lot of rural areas are pretty dusty also. And with rocky areas you can still takeoff but landing is real tricky.

I did see one guy do a hand launch once. I thought that was pretty risky but he seemed to be able to pull it off
2017-2-11
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Mutley
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I had the second bit too, removed no probs. I am 5 hours flying time in and have used the prop guards all the time so far. Only thing is the DJI Go warns they are fitted and the forward collision avoidance is disabled I think, not worried about that too much as most of my flying is in wide open spaces, they only come into view on hard forward acceleration.
2017-2-11
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Augustus Brian
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106 P4 flights. Hand caught about 75 of the landings, no problems. I hand catch when it's too windy, or when landing area is dusty, gritty, or unlevel. I like to land on my platform, an oversized TV table, but when breezes occur, I hand catch. Proper catch technique is above head, grab either rear vertical strut, hold it still, pull down on left joy. Once motors die, change battery and off you go.

I wouldn't try to hand catch an Inspire. Some do.

Keep Smiling,

Augustus
2017-2-11
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nscalernn3
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-2-11 05:54
If you know what you are doing then you wont push or pull it, but the first time you hand catch with no experience, pulling it towards you may be the natural thing to do.

My NVidia Shield K1 has several magnets in it, almost sticks itself to a radiator, and I always have that with me when flying, I keep it well away from the aircraft when calibrating the compass!

You live and learn.  I too use the  NVidia Shield K1.  The very first time I calibrated the compass I had the RC and Nvidia attached to a strap around my neck.  The bird immediately told me it was experiencing strong magnetic interference.  Dummy me DUH!!. Since then calibration is done by placing the RC in the ground before the calibration and taking the bird at leat 20feet away.  Yes the Nvidia had strong magnets.
2017-2-12
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Crackerjackxxx
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My V. Nguyen Posted at 2017-2-11 10:10
Hello KensPhantom4:
I  own and fly  Phantom 2, Phantom 3 Advanced and Phantom 4. I often catch my Phantom  drones by hand and never have a mishap like you have had. Obviously you should not try to catch your drone by hand because neither DJI nor any drone manufacturer recommend catching a landing drone by hand, do they? Every drone manufacturer warns the user not to fly above crowds, above clouds, in crowded spaces, etc. Yet, too many people are doing it and post them on UTube to show how cool it is. There was one video of a guy jumping into a pond to rescue his out of control Phantom 2 by catching it by hand! Other than getting wet, he managed to rescue his drone without a scratch! However that was an emergency only! Don't try this for fun, boys and girls.

Sorry but i hat that second foam guard on my Phantom 4 and it caught me out too.
2017-2-12
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