Here is a tip about something I wish I had noticed much earlier, the built-in Mavic simulator. Utilizing the DJI hardware and built-in simulator you can explore the DJI GO application to become familiar with the screen layout and menus.
It seems a little odd that in order to access the simulator you must power and connect to your DJI drone with the DJI GO 4. Everything is connected and ready for flying which is why I suggest you take the props off. They shouldn’t spin but just in case…
Click on the three bars in the upper right corner to expose the menu when you are on the DJI Device screen with the Mavic showing. Select ‘Academy’ and then you can select ‘Flight Simulator’.
If you are connected with your drone you should now see the ‘Aircraft Status’ dialog. Close the ‘Status dialog’ and you are now essentially ‘flying’ the drone. Everything works normal except you are flying the simulator. If your controller is not in ‘P’ mode (Sport) you will see a warning. If you are in controlled airspace, you will see and have to acknowledge the warning.
You will either need to turn off obstacle avoidance or put your bird where there is adequate clearance in front of it because the sensors are live.
Pull the sticks to activate the props and you will hear ‘Take off’ and in the simulator see the props are spinning. Take off and hover for a few seconds and hear the announcement ‘Home Point has been updated’.
Explore the different modes and become familiar with all the settings. Learn how to quickly select a white balance setting, or change the RTH altitude. Try the different modes.
Flying in the real world I found it hard to understand what I was seeing. You must learn where to look to regain orientation based on the sensor displays and understand the different modes and nothing is familiar. When you are keeping an eye on your drone you are not spending time learning the display.
To start, finding my way to the correct menu setting. It is sometimes hard to understand the settings and that is stressful when your drone is mid-mission. There is no stress when you can take your time and not worry about the drone just hovering somewhere. The ability to become familiar with the application in a simulated environment is phenomenal.
Furthermore it is nice to have a manual or video walking you through a lesson but that isn’t practical in the field. The simulator allows you to practice regardless of the weather, indoors, and next to your computer.
Not all modes are available in the simulator, which make sense. Some modes are available but not realistic. The follow terrain is a ‘cannot crash’ mode and quite boring in the simulator, but you see and can interact with the dialog boxes.
The best way to get to know the menus and become familiar with basic operation the simulator is incredibly valuable. I wish I had know about it from day one because I’ve been waiting on the weather and then learning from real flights, which honestly is much slower.
I think for becoming familiar with the DJI application and flight modes the simulator rocks. Navigate the application and practice in a mock environment within the real environment so the experience is valuable.
Next I will look at the flight school items.