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Question regarding landing vs. catching
1083 28 2016-12-18
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Desertrose
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United States
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I've got 5 flights in so-far, and wanted to ask for feedback on a method I've been practising before acquiring a bad or risky habit. Due to several rocky & sloped HP's that I've lifted off from, I've decided to simply 'catch' my P3P from a 5' hover at the end of a flight rather than attempt to make a landing. I've read a post somewhere here on the forum where it (catching) was mentioned without any negative connotations, and at-the-time seemed to be the safest and most practical means of recovery for me.
I noticed that on each occasion that the blade motors accelerated once I held it firmly as though competing for control of the AC, and can't imagine the motors working this hard under normal flight conditions. I don't want to abuse it, or create any future equipment problems down the road.

Any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated,

desertrose

2016-12-18
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Labroides
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Flight distance : 9991457 ft
Australia
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DJI will never endorse hand catching but many users do it all the time quite safely.
Be careful to keep the props above head level, turn the Phantom so that the battery is facing you and bring the Phantom in to about a metre in front of you.
Make sure that you have good footing and step closer and reach up to get a grip on the landing gear with your thumb close to the battery switch.
Hold the Phantom level and steady and hold the left stick down until the motors stop.
The motor reving you noticed is probably because you did not keep the Phantom level and the flight controller was trying to get the drone level.
2016-12-18
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Geebax
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Australia
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Hand catching can be hazardous, as you are placing yourself in close proximity to the aircraft and those spinning blades. Having said that, many, many people hand catch quite successfully.

The recommended technique is to gently lower the aircraft down to just above head height, with your hand on the left stick. Reach up with your right hand and firmly grasp the landing gear of the aircraft and at the same time, pull down fully on the left stick while holding the aircraft steady. After three seconds the motors will shut down and when the props have stopped, lower the aircraft.

Pulling down on the left stick will stop the motors because the aircraft senses no downward movement and therefore thinks it has landed. It is important NOT to grab the aircraft and pull it down, because while it is lowering, the motors will not shut off and you are bringing those blades close to your face.

EDIT: Sorry, I posted at the same time as Labroides. What he said.

2016-12-18
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Gil
Captain
Flight distance : 1362900 ft
United States
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The motors are revving because the Phantom is trying to maintain its GPS position.  When you grab it, however briefly or gently, it's going to try and compensate.

Common sense should  dictate whether or not you hand catch or land but my life long observation of people has told me "sense" is apparently not as common as we have been led to believe.  Consider you own comment about rocky & sloped area.  What are the chances you become so focused on retrieving your Phantom you lose your balance or something worse!

You really should perfect a catch procedure you can do consistently on level ground first before you push your luck on something more precipitous.

After flying for a couple of years now my own procedure is to carefully fly the bird to within 2-3 feet of me, about 5 feet off the ground and battery facing me. I then let go of both sticks and let it hover.  I can then shift the controller into my left hand with my finger ready on the throttle, I then take one step forward and with my right hand lightly grasp the landing gear while killing the motor with my left hand.  It's a simple matter from there to use my right thumb to turn off the battery.
Good luck!


2016-12-18
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Bay Cruiser
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2039288 ft
Australia
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182 flights to date and hand caught them all. Just do as everyone above has said but only on gps not atti. I have some snap on prop guards on there way to me from Italy which does help reduce the risk of those blades.
2016-12-19
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Nigel_
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Flight distance : 388642 ft
United Kingdom
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Remember that GPS positioning is not perfect, it can make sudden unexpected movements and fly straight towards you at high speed, so keep the whole aircraft above head height and keep everyone else at a good distance.  Even on the P4, if it is after sunset and the visual positioning has turned off it can move unexpectedly so make a habit to keep it above head height.

When you catch it, take a bit of it's weight, the motors will slow down, then stop the motors. If you try fighting it, or pulling it down then the motors will not stop.
2016-12-19
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Aubergine
lvl.1

Turkey
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I just started using phantom 4, so i am not experienced on drones particularly.
However, i work with industrial blades and even though we get every precaution, once in a while a socket or a small part might just fly off like a bullet and hurt someone. I believe this is the same case with the drones as propellers and holders are just plastic parts but can be like bullets with the torque applied.

So, i would never suggest to hand catch or anything, wouldnt even get close to it less than 3-4 meters while its working with propellers.

How much expensive this gadget is, still not more valuable than your body parts.
2016-12-19
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Desertrose
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United States
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Labroides Posted at 2016-12-19 14:50
DJI will never endorse hand catching but many users do it all the time quite safely.
Be careful to keep the props above head level, turn the Phantom so that the battery is facing you and bring the Phantom in to about a metre in front of you.
Make sure that you have good footing and step closer and reach up to get a grip on the landing gear with your thumb close to the battery switch.

Labroides-Your description of catching is very-close to what I've done, excluding the use of the lever to kill the motors. Being unfamiliar with the entire experience I focused all my attention of carefully capturing the AC gently. After grasping firmly I placed the RC within my knees while using the double-press on the AC battery button. I didn't want to bend to the ground with the RC and was trying to complete the process as quickly as possible. I'll definitely abide by your recommendation if the need arises again in the future. Thanks for taking the time to reply as its much appreciated...

desertrose
2016-12-19
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Desertrose
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Geebax Posted at 2016-12-19 14:54
Hand catching can be hazardous, as you are placing yourself in close proximity to the aircraft and those spinning blades. Having said that, many, many people hand catch quite successfully.

The recommended technique is to gently lower the aircraft down to just above head height, with your hand on the left stick. Reach up with your right hand and firmly grasp the landing gear of the aircraft and at the same time, pull down fully on the left stick while holding the aircraft steady. After three seconds the motors will shut down and when the props have stopped, lower the aircraft.

Geebax-
Thanks for the reply. Much appreciated...

desertrose
2016-12-19
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Desertrose
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Gil Posted at 2016-12-19 14:59
The motors are revving because the Phantom is trying to maintain its GPS position.  When you grab it, however briefly or gently, it's going to try and compensate.

Common sense should  dictate whether or not you hand catch or land but my life long observation of people has told me "sense" is apparently not as common as we have been led to believe.  Consider you own comment about rocky & sloped area.  What are the chances you become so focused on retrieving your Phantom you lose your balance or something worse!

Gil- I share your observation with regard to 'sense', especially what's considered to be the common-type. At the time catching was the only practical means of recovering the aircraft and in hindsight, had I paid more attention to pre-trip planning I wouldn't have lifted-off from my selected HP. My excitement to share images of my location over-ruled my practice of common sense. I'll follow the good advice if the need ever arises again in the future. Thanks for taking the time to reply as its much appreciated.

desertrose
2016-12-20
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Desertrose
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Bay Cruiser Posted at 2016-12-19 17:26
182 flights to date and hand caught them all. Just do as everyone above has said but only on gps not atti. I have some snap on prop guards on there way to me from Italy which does help reduce the risk of those blades.

Bay Cruiser- Congratulations on so many successful catches! I'm still in beginners mode and expect to be for some-time yet. I've hesitated to mount the prop-guards on my own AC as to avoid the added effort in disassembly & assembly when packing & removing the equipment using the backpack. Those little mounting-screws would be treacherous to locate in the area's where I fly. My respect for those spinning blades cause a great amount of caution in my effort, believe me...

Thanks for taking the time to reply.
desertrose
2016-12-20
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Desertrose
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Nigel_ Posted at 2016-12-19 18:15
Remember that GPS positioning is not perfect, it can make sudden unexpected movements and fly straight towards you at high speed, so keep the whole aircraft above head height and keep everyone else at a good distance.  Even on the P4, if it is after sunset and the visual positioning has turned off it can move unexpectedly so make a habit to keep it above head height.

When you catch it, take a bit of it's weight, the motors will slow down, then stop the motors. If you try fighting it, or pulling it down then the motors will not stop.

Nigel_I'll be sure to make careful observation if needed again in the future, and appreciate the advice that you and others have offered me. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post...

desertrose
2016-12-20
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Desertrose
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Nigel_ Posted at 2016-12-19 18:15
Remember that GPS positioning is not perfect, it can make sudden unexpected movements and fly straight towards you at high speed, so keep the whole aircraft above head height and keep everyone else at a good distance.  Even on the P4, if it is after sunset and the visual positioning has turned off it can move unexpectedly so make a habit to keep it above head height.

When you catch it, take a bit of it's weight, the motors will slow down, then stop the motors. If you try fighting it, or pulling it down then the motors will not stop.

Nigel_I'll be sure to make careful observation if needed again in the future, and appreciate the advice that you and others have offered me. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post...

desertrose
2016-12-20
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Desertrose
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Aubergine Posted at 2016-12-19 19:12
I just started using phantom 4, so i am not experienced on drones particularly.
However, i work with industrial blades and even though we get every precaution, once in a while a socket or a small part might just fly off like a bullet and hurt someone. I believe this is the same case with the drones as propellers and holders are just plastic parts but can be like bullets with the torque applied.

Aubergine-I can't agree more when comparing the value of our health compared to that of our equipment. When I decided to catch my P3P it was strictly based on my lack of experience/confidence in landing on a rocky-slope. I realize now how poor a decision it was, and expect to pre-plan all future flight details so as to avoid making similar mistakes. Thanks for taking the time to reply as I appreciate your advice.

desertrose
2016-12-20
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Nigel_
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United Kingdom
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Aubergine Posted at 2016-12-19 11:12
I just started using phantom 4, so i am not experienced on drones particularly.
However, i work with industrial blades and even though we get every precaution, once in a while a socket or a small part might just fly off like a bullet and hurt someone. I believe this is the same case with the drones as propellers and holders are just plastic parts but can be like bullets with the torque applied.

3-4 meters doesn't tend to stop flying industrial parts, better to stand behind a barrier!

In the case of the phantom propellers, they are very lightweight and thus don't store much kinetic energy.  Also, if they do fly off then they have very poor aerodynamics for traveling far.   The motors only provide enough force to keep the aircraft in the air plus a little acceleration.   Overall, with the  aircraft hovering, unless they hit you in the eye I don't think they are capable of causing any serious damage to an adult human.  They have trained eagles to catch drones like the phantom and even they don't get hurt when they grab the spinning propellers.

Bringing the aircraft down below head height increases some risks, especially if the vision positioning is not working, so it is not necessarily safer to land on the ground than to catch it above head height and turn the motors off using the RC.

If the aircraft is in sports mode traveling at 50mph then it can cause some serious injury, 1.5Kg moving at 50mph is a lot of kinetic energy.  In normal mode with obstacle avoidance on I think the risks are small, although you should always try to minimise them anyway.
2016-12-20
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Bay Cruiser
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2039288 ft
Australia
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No screws to connect prop guards I got these on order...  Check out the two videos on his site
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1618826


2016-12-20
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Augustus Brian
Second Officer
Flight distance : 397592 ft
United States
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Desertrose:

When the Vision System began malfunctioning, I noticed that the P4 would bounce lightly, several times before coming to rest. These bounces weren't from a height sufficient to cause any damage, but they were annoying nonetheless. When the Vision System is operating correctly, the P4 lands smoothly.

So, having said that, although I always take off from a portable platform, I catch most of my flights. I land on the platform if the Vision System is working AND the winds are light (less that 5MPH). I seldom land on the ground, cement, gravel, sand(never), grass or otherwise, because I don't like the idea of windblown debris/dust particles fouling my engines, however remote the possibility.

However, according to the FAA regulations, hand catching is illegal. (After a user posted night flight in the western US a few days ago, another user responded with a reproduction of FAA rules. Buried within the document was this stipulation: Not even the pilot is allowed to hand-catch a UAV.) I firmly believe it was meant to cover winged UAVs and helicopters, not vehicles that hover. I hope that the FAA will revise this edict, because there are times when the optimum and safest procedure is to hand-catch, at least for some drones.

I wouldn't want to try catching an Inspire or a Yuneec Typhoon or anything with 6 or 8 blades. I'd feel anxious about trying to catch a Mavic. The Phantom series lends itself to a safer hand-catch---it's landing gear is white, easy to see, and firm.

The technique for safely hand-catching Phantoms described on this thread is spot-on. I guess I'll have to be an outlaw evildoer, at least in this regard.

Keep Smiling,

Augustus
2016-12-20
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Hoomi
Second Officer
Flight distance : 231394 ft
United States
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Watching one of the videos on here where the Phantom was being flown from and returned to a moving boat, hand-catching seems like the only reasonable option, as I could not imagine trying to safely settle a flying drone onto a moving boat that is also bouncing with the waves. It would be tricky enough trying to safely reach up under it and grab the landing gear, knowing an odd wave could suddenly push your hand up farther than you were planning. In the video, though, it appeared the pilot was concentrating on flying the drone, while two other people were positioned on the stern to make the catch.
2016-12-20
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KM5RG-Robert
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Hoomi Posted at 2016-12-20 15:10
Watching one of the videos on here where the Phantom was being flown from and returned to a moving boat, hand-catching seems like the only reasonable option, as I could not imagine trying to safely settle a flying drone onto a moving boat that is also bouncing with the waves. It would be tricky enough trying to safely reach up under it and grab the landing gear, knowing an odd wave could suddenly push your hand up farther than you were planning. In the video, though, it appeared the pilot was concentrating on flying the drone, while two other people were positioned on the stern to make the catch.

I saw maybe the same video of the flight onto the boat. The boat was moving up and down quite a bit during the landing attempt. I do not remember if the video stopped before the actual hand catch or if I just did not watch the end but I did not see the actual catch. With all that being said, it looked like a hand catch in that situation was pretty hazardous. I just the other day saw a thing on TV where they were doing drone racing and the finish was a crash into a net. I was thinking that landing on a boat might be easier to put up a net and fly over it and then perform a CSC and allow the AC to just drop into the net. Maybe easier/safer in the long run.
2016-12-20
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RedHotPoker
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Flight distance : 165105 ft
Canada
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I use a handy self made, landing/takeoff platform.

You can always prop up a low corner, with a rock, handful of grass, crumpled paper, chunk of wood. . . List goes on.
I never fly from a 90* angle. Hehe

Buy or build a nice helicopter pad... ;-)

RedHotPoker
2016-12-20
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Desertrose
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2016-12-21 10:14
I use a handy self made, landing/takeoff platform.

You can always prop up a low corner, with a rock, handful of grass, crumpled paper, chunk of wood. . . List goes on.

RedHotPoker-
Best idea I've heard all-day, and already have several idea's on constructing one. I've been using cardboard from open spaces here on my property as the local dirt is lightweight and fine with a baby-powder consistency. Am doing my best to keep those motor windings & lens as dust-free as possible.

desertrose
2016-12-22
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Desertrose
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2016-12-21 10:14
I use a handy self made, landing/takeoff platform.

You can always prop up a low corner, with a rock, handful of grass, crumpled paper, chunk of wood. . . List goes on.

RedHotPoker-
Best idea I've heard all-day, and already have several idea's on constructing one. I've been using cardboard from open spaces here on my property as the local dirt is lightweight and fine with a baby-powder consistency. Am doing my best to keep those motor windings & lens as dust-free as possible.

desertrose
2016-12-22
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Desertrose
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2016-12-21 10:14
I use a handy self made, landing/takeoff platform.

You can always prop up a low corner, with a rock, handful of grass, crumpled paper, chunk of wood. . . List goes on.

RedHotPoker-
Best idea I've heard all-day, and already have several idea's on constructing one. I've been using cardboard when lifting off from open spaces here on my property as the local dirt is lightweight and fine with a baby-powder consistency. Am doing my best to keep those motor windings & lens as dust-free as possible.

desertrose
2016-12-22
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RedHotPoker
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Flight distance : 165105 ft
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Desertrose Posted at 2016-12-23 00:00
RedHotPoker-
Best idea I've heard all-day, and already have several idea's on constructing one. I've been using cardboard from open spaces here on my property as the local dirt is lightweight and fine with a baby-powder consistency. Am doing my best to keep those motor windings & lens as dust-free as possible.

It's easy to find a makeshift piece of thin plywood, corrugated plastic, or stiff cardboard.
Buy I enjoy wood working, so made myself one, from a nice piece of maple I had kicking around.

Build it large enough, to land your drone on it, comfortably.

If it's too small, taking off will be fine, but landing may be more difficult. ;-)
I found it to be a fun project, and was happy with my accomplishment. Delightfully so. Hahaha

If you click Edit, bottom left additional options, you will see Del this post ... Tap then click ok.

RedHotPoker
2016-12-22
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Desertrose
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KM5RG-Robert Posted at 2016-12-21 09:31
I saw maybe the same video of the flight onto the boat. The boat was moving up and down quite a bit during the landing attempt. I do not remember if the video stopped before the actual hand catch or if I just did not watch the end but I did not see the actual catch. With all that being said, it looked like a hand catch in that situation was pretty hazardous. I just the other day saw a thing on TV where they were doing drone racing and the finish was a crash into a net. I was thinking that landing on a boat might be easier to put up a net and fly over it and then perform a CSC and allow the AC to just drop into the net. Maybe easier/safer in the long run.

KM5RG-Robert-
I've seen those televised drone races as well. The method you describe would be a viable alternative in certain situations, no doubt.

Happy Landings,

desertrose
2016-12-22
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RedHotPoker
Captain
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KM5RG-Robert Posted at 2016-12-20 18:31
I saw maybe the same video of the flight onto the boat. The boat was moving up and down quite a bit during the landing attempt. I do not remember if the video stopped before the actual hand catch or if I just did not watch the end but I did not see the actual catch. With all that being said, it looked like a hand catch in that situation was pretty hazardous. I just the other day saw a thing on TV where they were doing drone racing and the finish was a crash into a net. I was thinking that landing on a boat might be easier to put up a net and fly over it and then perform a CSC and allow the AC to just drop into the net. Maybe easier/safer in the long run.

To catch a drone... ;-)

image.jpeg
A bit bigger than a 250 racing drone.

RedHotPoker
2016-12-22
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Desertrose
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Just wanted to say thank you to all who replied to my post regarding hand-catching. I had the opportunity to fly today, and was able to catch my P3P with confidence. Due to my HP being on a rocky surface, it was a perfect chance to use the advice offered here. After lowering to a foot above my head I stopped recording, Firmly grasped the landing gear and throttled-down the left-hand stick until the blade motors stopped. Today was either the 6th or 7th flight ever using a drone, and can't wait to capture more video with each upcoming flight.


desertrose
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2016-12-25
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Mike-the-cat
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Hand-catching is possible with the Inspire, Phantom, Mavic. The only time I don't try it is if the wind is very strong. Kill motors in a co-ordinated fashion so that the aircraft falls as you catch it.
2016-12-25
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Desertrose
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Mike-the-cat Posted at 2016-12-25 18:28
Hand-catching is possible with the Inspire, Phantom, Mavic. The only time I don't try it is if the wind is very strong. Kill motors in a co-ordinated fashion so that the aircraft falls as you catch it.

Much appreciated, I'll do my best to remember that..!

desertrose
2017-1-8
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