How to hand launch a drone

How To Hand Launch A Drone Phantom 3 / How to Hand Catch a Drone

First off, why do you want to hand launch a drone to begin with?  Aren’t we going to chop our little fingers off?

Turns out, there is a great reason to learn to hand launch your Phantom 3 drone.  There are a lot of bad things that can happen to a drone.  One of the times our little robot friends are most vulnerable is during takeoff.  A strong wind gust, tall grass or an uneven surface can spell disaster.  On top of eliminating risk, I prefer to hand launch just to keep dirt and dust away from my camera lens.

Failure to Launch Failure to Launch

How To Hand Launch A Drone Steps

With the “why” addressed, let’s take a look at “how”:

  1. Drop a knee like you’re gonna get knighted
  2. Set the controller on the ground as flat as possible.
  3. Hold the drone above your head, gripping it high up on the landing gear.  (Don’t hold it too low on the leg as this is too much weight on the gear.)
  4. Making sure you have GPS lock, go ahead and initiate take off.  You can all it the Combined Stick Command (CSC) if you want, but don’t blame me if a bully starts picking on you.
  5. Slowly increase throttle until you feel the drone support its own weight and start pulling gently against your grip.
  6. If you love something, let it go.

Grab here to keep fingers.

Grab here to keep fingers. Hold here to keep face. Hold here to keep face. Let it go like Elsa. Let it go like Elsa.

How to Hand Catch a Phantom 3 Drone

Anyone can catch a drone that’s near the ground. The only trick that’s impressive is how to do it without losing fingers. Hand catching a drone is basically the reverse of launching, which should come as no surprise.

  1. Fly the drone down to the ground so that it’s slightly above head level and hovering a few feet horizontally away from you.
  2. If the drone is hovering steadily, walk toward it, reaching up towards the landing gear.  The drone should not be hovering lower than your head.
  3. Grab the gear close to the body of the drone and then hold onto that sucker tight
  4. Turn off the motors with the controller.

Always reach up toward the landing gear to guarantee you won't put your fingers in a blender. Always reach up toward the landing gear to guarantee you won’t put your fingers in a blender.

This whole process is easier if you have the control unit on a lanyard, but it’s also perfectly manageable by balancing the controller on your leg.

Let me know if you have any better tips for this process or have suffered any accidents during takeoff!

Some say Diemer was raised by wolves. Others claim the spirits of the forest played a part. Most however, would agree that he was raised by his parents in a house. A living oddity, he is one of the few living men who can legally drive a Class A dump truck but also knows why you'd pay more for a full canvas suit. While blessed with many useless gifts, he is not a man without weakness. To this day he is unable to throw a baseball or "pigskin" in front of others without fear of ridicule. FAVORITE PLACES: Anywhere best explored on a motorbike: Vietnam, the Philippines, Santorini and Bali.

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