You recently purchased a DJI Air 2S, which is your first DJI drone. You just got it out of the box and all charged up and ready to go, and you can’t wait to use it, but by the time it’s ready, it’s getting dark outside.
Can you fly the Air 2S after dark or during daylight hours only?
Since the DJI Air 2S has navigational lights and can be outfitted with a strobe kit, you can safely fly the drone at night. If you’re a commercial drone pilot, you must have your Part 107 license. Both commercial and recreational drone pilots must pass free night flying training.
Flying your drone at night opens a whole new world of possibilities. You can freely fly in areas that are usually crowded by daylight and capture stunning sights. If that’s exactly what you want to do with your new DJI Air 2S drone, then make sure you keep reading!
Can You Fly the DJI Air 2S at Night?
The DJI Air 2S is an all-in-one drone that features a small, 1-inch CMOS sensor.
That stunning sensor allows the Air 2S to produce video in 4K quality at 60 frames per second and photos in 20 megapixels.
Of course, you’re going to want to take your new drone for a spin both day and night.
The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA mandates that commercial drone pilots can use their UAVs at night if the drone is equipped with anti-collision lights. The lights must be able to illuminate at least three statute miles in front of the drone.
The lights equipped with the drone should be able to flash, and the rate of flashing must be significant so that the flashing lights can help to prevent a collision. You must attach the anti-collision lights atop your UAV.
The DJI Air 2S comes with built-in navigation lights. However, these lights are installed underneath the UAV. Plus, the lights are LEDs and not strobes.
The lights can come in handy for further illumination when flying your drone in dim or dark conditions, but they don’t pass the FAA regulations.
Thus, you’d have to equip your Air 2S drone with a strobe light so it’s usable at night if you’re flying for commercial purposes.
You’re free to select whichever strobe light for your Air 2S that you want, but we quite like the Lumecube strobe.
FAA Anti-Collision Light. Fits All Drones. Long Battery Life. 360 Degree Visibility. DJI Mini, Mavic, Phantom, Inspire, Matrice.
This light, which costs less than $40, is an anti-collision light that’s designed for professionals. The strobe light passes federal requirements for an anti-collision light.
The battery lasts six hours when you use the fast strobe feature consistently. The lights are available in three hues, green, white, or red. You can also select from several light modes for this weatherproof light.
When your Lumecube strobe dies, you can use a USB charger to refresh its battery.
» MORE: Best Drone Anticollision Lights
What requirements must commercial drone pilots meet when flying a drone at night? What about recreational drone pilots?
You’re pleased as punch to learn that you can fly your DJI Air 2S drone at night. After all, DJI drones are anything but cheap, and now you feel like you’ll be able to use yours to the fullest.
Before you plan your first nighttime excursion, be aware of the following requirements for commercial and recreational drone pilots alike as mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA.
Commercial drone pilot requirements for flying a drone at night
As a commercial drone pilot, you must have passed the FAA’s Part 107 drone exam. If not, and you’re only an aspiring commercial drone pilot, then your first order of business is to take the Part 107 exam.
We’ve written about a whole series of online drone schools that can get you prepped to pass your exam the first time around. They’re worth looking into!
Once you’ve received your license, it must be current if you hope to fly your new Air 2S drone at night.
Further, you have to enroll in drone night flight training through the FAA’s training resource FAAST. The training is free.
According to the FAA website, as of October 2021, if you have an active Part 107 license, then you can now utilize the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability or LAANC services for nighttime drone flight authorization.
This opens up your flying opportunities further, according to the FAA.
Recreational drone pilot requirements for flying a drone at night
What if you don’t make a cent from your drone and you just enjoy flying it for fun? In that case, you still have to follow specific FAA guidelines before you take to the night skies with your Air 2S drone.
First, you’ll have to register your drone.
That requirement as established by the FAA goes into effect once a drone exceeds 0.55 pounds. The DJI Air 2S weighs 595 grams, which is 21 ounces or 1.31 pounds, so you must register it.
Per the FAA’s website, you can register your drone by inputting your information (your physical address, phone number, email address, and information about your drone such as the make and model).
You’ll pay $5 to register one drone. The registration lasts for three years.
You must also sign up for the nighttime drone flight training module through FAAST even though you’re not a commercial drone pilot.
What features does the DJI Air 2S have that make it suitable for flying at night?
You chose a fantastic drone in the DJI Air 2S for nighttime piloting. The following features make the drone suitable for flight even after the sun goes down.
DJI updated the Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems or APAS algorithms for the Air 2S. The current system included with the Air 2S is APAS 4.0, which is smart and intuitive.
The Air 2S can sense backward, upward, downward, and forward, even if you’re commandeering the drone at high speeds. This environment sensing and avoidance can keep your drone safer when flying it both by day and at night.
For beginner drone users, a feature like the APAS 4.0 is very useful. Nothing feels worse than accidentally slamming your thousand-dollar drone into a tree, after all!
Another great feature for flying your Air 2S drone at night is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast or ADS-B system.
This system sends information on flight locations of nearby helicopters and planes.
The Air 2S receives this information via ADS-B signals. The drone then takes those signals, makes them into visible location markers that show helicopters and planes, and sends you visual and audio alerts so you can stay safe.
You will need the DJI Fly app to make the most of the ADS-B feature, but the app is free to download.
Tips for flying your drone at night
Even though yours is a high-end DJI drone with obstacle avoidance and helicopter flight signaling, you still have to be extra cautious when flying a drone at night. To wrap up, here are some night-flight safety tips to keep in mind.
Know before you go
We wouldn’t recommend exploring a new area for the first time at night. It becomes much harder to determine where obstacles could be.
You can’t always rely on your drone for obstacle avoidance. The Air 2S, although it can fly at night, will be able to better sense obstacles in the daylight or other bright conditions.
Keep your drone close
We humans don’t exactly have the best night vision. You might be able to fly your drone out dozens of feet during the day and still see it from a distance, but that same benefit more than likely will not extend to night flights.
Thus, limit your flight radius so your drone is in your line of sight at all times.
Watch where you’re going
Another good reason to stay close? You can be sure that where you’re standing is safe.
In the dark, it’s hard to tell if the area two steps to your left is flat ground or the edge of a cliff that will plunge you hundreds of feet down a deep ravine.
Even if you surveyed the area during the day, you didn’t memorize every last square inch. One wrong step at night can be your doom.
Bring a spare light
What if your first set of strobe lights fails at the most inopportune time? Having a spare set will ensure you can continue flying your Air 2S drone for just a bit longer.
You can fly the DJI Air 2S drone at night whether you’re a recreational drone pilot or you hold a commercial drone license.
You will need to equip your drone with strobing anti-collision lights that are visible for three statute miles. The lights that come with the Air 2S alone won’t cut it.
Remember to always follow FAA rules when flying your drone at night. Most importantly, stay safe!