DJI Mavic Air 2 First Impressions

So, I’ve been driving my family nuts with hourly updates on the current location of my drone as it shipped. For the record, it took about 10 days to make it here from China. Not bad, but a long time if you are a kid waiting for the toy that you have been dying to get. I was also on the verge of sitting down at my computer to write a blog called “How long does it take to charge DJI Mavic Air 2 batteries? Too freaking long!” when I realized that one of the batteries was flashing full. So instead, I’m writing about my first impressions. For the record, this is my first real drone (I’m setting aside one that was little more than a toy, which I got a few years ago.)

Charge damn you!

First of all, I was surprised at how small and light the thing is. At the same time, definitely solid. To my novice eye, it appeared to be well engineered with parts moving smoothly and with a great fit to them–tight, but never a feeling that you had to force anything. Since I got the Fly More Combo, I got three batteries and plugged them in as soon as I got the package open. Side note, they really like to put little bits of protective tape over everything. I’m not sure why, but it keeps everything looking nice I guess. My 9 year old son was really impressed with box and instantly asked if he could have it because it looked like he could put something important inside and send it somewhere.

All kidding aside, set up was pretty straightforward and the simple quick start instructions were adequate, although I’m glad that I watched a few “getting started” videos on YouTube since I feel like I need to know a little something when I get started using technology that just cost me a grand. While I was waiting for it to get charged, I registered the drone (https://faadronezone.faa.gov/#/) and printed off the registration number so that it could be clearly labeled as per FAA requirements. I reread the instructions and waited impatiently. Then I took a nap and ate a delicious dinner prepared by my very patient wife. Of course, by the time this was all done and the first battery was charged it was well after dark, windy outside, and did I mention that I live near an airport?

Let me be a little more specific, thanks to my Part 107 licensing and preliminary research using Airmap, I knew that I had to go about a quarter mile from my house and request FAA permission to fly. Did I mention that it was cold and windy out and that I was just a kid wanting to test out his latest toy? So I powered everything on and moments later had it hovering in my living room. Here’s what I learned. The drone was fully aware that it was near an airport and flying unauthorized. It didn’t seem to know that it was inside (why would it?), but it seemed to be willing to land automatically onto the ottoman that it took off from. I’m not saying that it was loud (well, it was sort of when in the middle of a living room), but I definitely had an appreciation for the power of the rotors when operating indoors. I’m not saying that it was a bad idea exactly and between our two story tall ceiling, the fact that my family and I were not close to it, and the fact that it is really freaking stable I never felt unsafe. That being said, future flights shall be outdoors with full awareness that the drone will notify me of any unauthorized flight activity even if I am the one that initiated.

Ready to fly!

It’s definitely not a toy. But, I can already tell that it is going to be fun.

So, my shoulder bag is all packed with my license, drone registration, and charged batteries. I’ve updated the firmware and am ready to fly. I just need to get a little farther from that airport…

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