How to Safely Hand Launch & Hand Catch Your DJI Mavic Pro & Mavic Air



In today’s tutorial, I am going to show you how to hand catch and hand launch your DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Mavic Air.

Watch the tutorial here, or read the written tutorial after the jump:

Now why would you want to hand catch or hand land your drone instead of just taking off from the ground? Good question, I’m glad you asked!

Well if you’re anything like me and you love flying your DJI Mavic Pro or DJI Mavic Air I’m sure at some point there is going to be a time when your surroundings are either uneven, rocky, sandy, wet or dusty.

Hand catching & launching drone -

Watch out for elements getting kicked up into your motors

All of those elements can make it hard to take off and when props are spinning if there are loose particles and elements present (like dirt and sand) they can easily fly up and end up in your prop’s motors which could cause problems later down the road.

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Me and some friends just after taking off from a moving boat

Another reason is maybe you forgot to bring a drone take-off/landing pad with you or you want to take off from a moving vehicle like a boat.

In each of those scenarios using the following tips for hand launching and hand catching your drone will be very helpful.

Before we start it is important to mention that hand launching and hand catching your drone can be dangerous so please don’t try this until you feel very experienced and comfortable with your controlling your drone.

Be sure that it isn’t windy when you are trying this and an added precaution you can also try these techniques with some hand gloves, protective eyewear, a helmet, and/or with the prop guards on the drone.

Also, I switch back and forth between DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Mavic Air photos but each principle applies to both drones so don’t be too distracted by that.

Now let’s get started!

How to Hand Launch Your Drone

1) Safe Area

The first thing you need to do is find a safe spot to take off from that is away from people and obstacles.

Remember to always scan the area because a child or animal could always quickly and easily run into your zone without you realizing it.

Ideally, you want a radius of several feet around the drone so you have a safe buffer around you.


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Gripping the DJI Mavic Pro

2) Grip It

Grip your drone with one hand on its underside but be sure to keep your finger low enough so that your finger placement is clear of where the props will spin.


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Gripping the DJI Mavic Air

3) Hold It High

Keep your drone above head height making sure you keep the drone safely away from your face and body.



Auto take off button in the DJI GO App

4) Auto-take-off

Hold the controller against your body or rest it on the ground or table.

Ready the AUTO-TAKE OFF button on the left-hand side of the DJI Go app, but don’t slide the button yet.

Once in a safe position after following the steps above, slide the AUTO-TAKE OFF button.

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Auto take-off slider inside the DJI Go App

Your props will this startup and the drone will begin to ascend.

Don’t immediately let go of your drone, instead begin by slowing releasing your fingers and let the drone slide up and out of your hand while it ascends.

Congratulations, you just learned how to hand launch your drone!


How to Hand Catch Your Drone

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Landing Protection inside the DJI GO app

1) DJI Go App

Before hand catching my drone I like to turn off “Landing Protection” inside the DJI Go App (Check my complete DJI Go App tutorial guide here)

To do this enter the MENU on the DJI go app. Then select VISUAL NAVIGATION SETTINGS > ADVANCED SETTINGS > LANDING PROTECTION and slide that to “OFF” and then click “DISABLE”.

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Disable Landing Protection warning pop-up

If you want landing protection turned back on just slide the setting back to “ON”.

Now you can still hand catch your drone without turning off the landing protection but the drone will try to avoid your hand (treating it as an obstacle to avoid) and it will fight against your grip by spinning the motors even faster for a few seconds before disengaging.


2) Safe Area

Find a clear spot to land with a radius of several feet so you have a safe buffer around you.


3) Ready Your Position

Bring your drone down close enough for you to be able to reach up and grab it.

Before grabbing it though, let the drone hover just above head height (but not directly over your head), making sure the drone is away from your face and body.

Then step into place, reach up and grab the drone being, always careful not to put your fingers too high in the area where the props are spinning.


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Throttle down on the left stick

4) Throttle Down

Once you have grabbed the drone press down on the throttle until the motors turn off (for MODE 2 that is the left stick).


***Another option is to have the drone AUTO LAND into your hand just don’t try this while in a moving vehicle***


How to Hand Catch Your Drone with Auto Land in the DJI Go App


1) Ready Your Position

Make sure where you are landing is clear of people and obstacles.

Then begin to bring your drone down so it is several feet over your head height (not directly over your head though).



Auto land button inside the DJI Go app

2) Auto Land

Ready the AUTO-LAND button which is on the left-hand side of the DJI Go app, but don’t slide the button yet.


3) Position Set

Hold the controller against your body or rest it on the ground.

Then place your hand under where the drone will land as it starts to descend.

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Auto-takeoff button inside the DJI Go App

Once in position, slide the AUTO-LAND button. Then let your drone gentle ascend down into your hand (always careful not to put your fingers too high in the area where the props are spinning).

After you feel the drone grip it tight and wait for the motors to automatically turn off.

Congratulations, you just learned how to hand land your drone! 

Be sure to safely practice these techniques in a big open area free of obstacles & distractions before you ever need to actually do them. They take practice and you want to make sure you are comfortable with them when the time comes.


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Dirk Dallas bio photo From Where I DroneDirk Dallas, also known online as @dirka, is the founder and curator of From Where I Drone, a blog dedicated to inspiring and teaching drone pilots how to create better aerial photos and videos.


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