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How to Hand Launch / Land a DJI Drone (Step-by-Step Guide)

Hand launching is an effective method for safely getting your drone in the air. How do you hand launch a portable drone such a DJI drone?

To hand launch a DJI drone, unfold the drone, hold it naturally in the center, activate drone flight via the DJI app, and let it go.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the hand launching process, including step-by-step instructions so you can get it right.

Check it out!

Hand Launching a DJI Drone

As promised, let’s jump right into how to hand launch the small and efficient Mavic Mini 2 drone.

1. Ready Your Drone for Flight

For starters, you’ll need to unfold the Mavic Mini 2’s drone arms and put the blades on the drone. Unlike other models, these blades will screw in.

After this, take off the gimbal cover. If you power on the drone with the gimbal cover on, be aware you could damage the gimbal. 

The next step Is to insert the battery and then power on the drone.

Now turn on your flight app, which in most cases is DJI Go, and connect your phone to the remote controller. 

2. Find a Good Launching Place

Now you’ll need to make sure that you’re ready to take off. Are there trees above you? Has your IMU and compass been calibrated?

If not, follow the preflight checklist shown in the top left corner (usually in red) until the preflight check has been conducted. 

Now you’re ready to take off.

3. Hold the Drone

Place the Mavic Mini 2 in your open hand. Specifically, pinch the drone in the middle to find the body’s center of gravity.

You want to make sure that you’re not holding it too tight or too loose.

Warning: Here’s where it becomes crucial that you follow the steps exactly as they are. Drone propeller blades are exactly as they sound, blades. If your fingers come in contact with the spinning blades, there’s a good chance they will cut you.

A good way to find the middle ground is to pinch the drone with pressure that comes right up to the point of the drone falling out of your hand. You want to stay right around this point while hand launching the Mavic Mini 2. 

4. Turn on the DJI Go App

Access the DJI Go app and navigate to the take off/launch button.

While still pinching the Mavic Mini 2 as discussed, hold down the launch button until the slide to launch icon appears.

If you’re ready to go, then slide to launch. 

The drone will begin spinning its propellers, and you’ll feel force pulling the drone upwards.

At this point, you can let go of your grip on the Mavic Mini 2 and it will hover in the air on its own.

You’ll quickly need to get back to the remote controls to commandeer the drone.

While the Mavic Mini should just sit stable in the air, it’s best to have both hands on the controls at all times.

This is just in case an error occurs with the drone sensors under the drone and it begins flying upwards.

Hand Landing a DJI Drone

Landing your drone by hand is far simpler than launching it by hand.

Don’t get too comfortable though, it takes practice to execute a hand landing smoothly.

Here are the three steps to a successful hand landing with your Mavic Mini 2.

1. Bring the Drone Down to You

If you’re in a forest, bringing your drone down can be tricky, but you would have to do this whether you were performing a standard landing or a hand landing.

In a wooded environment, it’s best to fly manually as opposed to using the return home button due to the high probability of your drone crashing into a tree during the automated return home flight.

Over water or in a field, this is much easier. You can use return home, but make sure you cancel it when it gets close to you.

2. Make Contact with the Mavic Mini 2

Now that you’ve got the drone above you, reach out your hand at arm’s length.

Using the other hand, bring the Mavic Mini down slowly. 

As the drone descends, grab the drone using the pinch method that we discussed in the step-by-step hand launch section, only pinch it firmly.

It’s likely that the drone will try to fly away, just like it did when you hand launched it. 

3. Throttle Down

To combat the drone attempting to fly away, use your other hand to throttle down the Mavic Mini 2 as if you were landing it on the ground.

Use the control stick for this, not the slide-to-land option.

The standard remote layouts have the elevation control as the left joystick. If this is the case for you, then throttle down by pulling this stick directly down.

The Mavic Mini’s propellers will stop spinning, and you’ll be able to power down the drone.

Yes, your hands are full, but you’ve completed a hand-launched and hand-landed drone flight. This isn’t easy if it’s your first time, so pat yourself on the back. You did it!

Reasons to Hand Launch or Land a Drone

There are many situations where hand launching a drone is beneficial.

For instance, let’s say you’re in a colder climate and there’s snow on the ground. You wouldn’t want to launch from the ground, as this causes many issues with the drone.  

Another situation where hand launching would be extremely beneficial is if you were in a forested area with thick overgrowth.

Since you’ve got no safe ground launch from, there’s really no other way to get the drone in the air than by hand launching.

The two scenarios above benefit greatly from being able to hand launch, however, you may be able to launch from the ground if you absolutely had to.

The next scenario we’ll cover gives pilots no other choice but to hand launch and hand land. 

You’re on the water. You’re looking at a historic dam built in the late 1800s. Your jet ski has a dry compartment where you store your valuables, including the Mavic Mini 2.

You take your Mavic Mini out, power the drone on, and realize that you have nowhere to launch from. You’re going to have to hand launch and hand land.