DJI drones may be some of the most feature-packed and sophisticated drones out there, but that does not mean that they are not beginner-friendly. In fact, DJI goes out of its way to make their drones easy to learn for beginners with the appropriately-named Beginner Mode. How does this Beginner Mode help newbie drone pilots learn how to fly? When will you know if it’s time to graduate from Beginner Mode?
What is Beginner Mode?
As its name implies, Beginner Mode was especially designed for first-time drone pilots who are still learning to fly. By default, Beginner Mode is activated on the maiden flight of your drone, although you have the option to deactivate it right away. Beginner Mode imposes a “geofence” on your drone – a limited 3D field in which your drone can fly in. There are several other restrictions in Beginner Mode, which we shall go into detail later.
How do you activate Beginner Mode?
To activate Beginner Mode, you need to have a mobile device with the DJI GO 4 app connected to the remote controller. Enter the Camera View in the app, open the main menu, and go to the Main Controller Settings. In this page, Beginner Mode can be toggled with just a single tap on the onscreen switch.
What are the restrictions in Beginner Mode?
Beginner Mode imposes several restrictions in the drone’s movements to make this mode beginner-friendly and to avoid crashes and other mishaps for pilots who are not quite comfortable with the controls yet:
1. Launching with GPS signal
In Beginner Mode, the motors of a drone will not start if it has not yet secured a stable GPS signal. This means that it will not be possible to fly indoors in this mode. GPS positioning helps a drone maintain a stable hover by compensating for horizontal drifts. This greatly aids in making it easier to control the drone and to prevent it from running into walls and other obstacles.
2. Distance restriction
The drone is restricted to within 30 meters, both horizontally and vertically, from the location of the remote control when in Beginner Mode. By keeping the drone close, it becomes much easier for the pilot to determine the drone’s orientation and to see how the drone reacts to their commands. This also lessens the chances of the drone running into walls or branches.
3. Speed restriction
The maximum speed of a drone in Beginner Mode is restricted to around 15 mph. This is a small fraction of the speed that most DJI drones are capable of. For inexperienced drone pilots, it can be surprising just how quickly a drone can move. This is one of the most common reasons for crashes for first-time drone pilots. By limiting the movement speed, Beginner Mode eases drone pilots into getting used with the controls of their drones.
4. Reduced controller sensitivity
The sensitivity of response of the drone’s movement to your controller’s analog sticks is also reduced under Beginner Mode. This “damping” effect hinders the drone’s movements, giving new drone pilots room to make mistakes.
5. No Intelligent Flight Modes
Beginner Mode was designed only for flight practice. This means that you cannot access a DJI drone’s library of autonomous flight modes such as active tracking or Cinematic Mode. In any case, beginners should be focusing on learning how to fly. Learning how to capture good drone shots can come later.
Tips when flying in Beginner Mode
Even if Beginner Mode gives you several handicaps so that you can learn to fly, it doesn’t give you license to fly carelessly. When learning to fly in Beginner Mode, here are the best tips you should follow:
1. Start in a large, obstacle-free field
Obstacle sensors (if available in your drone) are activated in Beginner Mode, which should help you avoid crashing into trees or walls. However, not all DJI drones are equipped with omnidirectional obstacles avoidance. If you’re still learning, the chances of getting into crashes are significantly higher so you’ll want to make all the safety measures possible.
2. Fly at a spot where the drone can land safely
There have been several accounts of drones unexpectedly doing an automatic landing when flying in Beginner Mode. This probably happens when the pilot activates return-to-home (RTH). However, RTH will trigger an automatic landing instead of returning to the pilot when its located very close to the remote controller. This can be a problem if the drone is currently flying over a lake, bushes, or sharp rocks.
To provide reassurance, most pilots find it very hard to crash their drones in Beginner Mode. However, it is still possible, so you’ll need to make a few precautions.
How long does it take to learn?
A result of the brilliant design of the controls of the DJI drones is that they are very easy to learn. With Beginner Mode, beginners can learn to fly their drones in a relatively risk-free environment. Most pilots only need a few minutes to get comfortable with their drones. About two or three battery cycles is usually enough for them to fly in standard P-Mode (positioning mode).
However, there’s no hard and fast rule that you need to follow on when to leave Beginner Mode behind. We have heard of drone pilots staying in Beginner Mode for several weeks before they can gain the confidence to finally deactivate it. There are several other avenues to learn – such as the simulator module in DJI Assistant 2.
DJI has come up with a lot of ways to make their drones appealing even to aspiring drone pilots who haven’t flown a drone once in their whole lives. Beginner Mode makes the process easier and safer for beginner drone pilots and helps to prevent crashes so early into their drone flight careers. This is a very well-designed feature that probably all owners of DJI drones have benefitted from over the years. If you have been considering a DJI drone and feel intimated by such a sophisticated piece of technology, then don’t worry too much: DJI has your back.