4 Beginner Flying Tips for the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter

I've logged several hundred hours flying my Phantom 2 Vision+ at this point, and I'm pretty sure that at this point, I can fairly declare it to be the best drone I've ever flown. This is after having made or bought hundreds (yes, literally hundreds) of drones in the last few decades.

I still remember when we used to hook full-sized VHS camcorders to R/C helicopters in order to shoot video...I'll find a picture of that someday!

However, today I want to talk about a few basic tips for beginners with the Phantom 2 Vision+. It's not exactly a cheap drone, so you'll want to take care of it and keep from losing it if you don't have to. Here are 4 of the most useful tips I can think of for beginners who want to get off to a good start with their Phantoms. These tips are specifically for the Phantom 2 Vision+, but they also apply to all the other Phantoms (e.g., the FC40, original Phantom, and Phantom 2 Vision). I know this because I own them all. Yes, it's an obsession.

1. Know your basic controls - maybe even write them on your radio transmitter

Perhaps the easiest way to crash the Phantom 2 Vision+ is to forget how to control it while in mid-air. Don't laugh; I've seen this happen several times. Not to me, but to other people who bought the drone, barely reviewed the instructions, and took to the skies without taking the time to know how to pilot it safely. When you're spending a grand on a drone, you should spend at least a few minutes making sure you've got a good handle on the controls. And if that's still too much work, you might want to consider writing them down on the controller with something like a sharpie. Sure, it might look a bit silly, but I'll tell you right now that crashing your drone into a tree will look a lot sillier than using a cheat sheet to help you land it safely.

2. Don't confuse your sticks

This is another issue that seems to trip a lot of people up. The left stick is what you use for elevation and rotation; the right stick is what you use for direction and movement. To put it another way...

Left Up -> Phantom up
Left Down -> Phantom down
Left Left -> Phantom rotates left
Left Right -> Phantom rotates right

Right Up -> Phantom forward
Right Down -> Phantom backwards
Right left -> Phantom flies left
Right right -> Phantom flies right

Of course, if you let both sticks go, they naturally move to the center, and the Phantom itself will simply hover.

3. Set your GPS up before flying

Setting your GPS up in the Phantom means allowing it to figure out where it is on the planet through the GPS satellites whizzing about hundreds of miles above you and your drone. It's like waiting for your Garmin to find itself; it can take a bit of time but it can save you a lot of time later on. Similarly, your Phantom will fly in a much more consistent way if the GPS system is configured in advance, and it will also be able to return to you if your transmitter loses power or if it flies out of range. This is priceless in certain situations, trust me. I know a guy who lost his Phantom permanently on his first flight because he flew it without fully charged transmitter batteries and lost control of his quadcopter when the wind carried it over a cliff. Yes, he cried.

And that brings me to my last tip for beginners flying a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+.

4. Stay away from windy days

Perhaps that's a bit strong of advice. I'll confess that I've flown my Phantom around tornadoes and hurricanes, although I wouldn't recommend that at all. However, for beginners, it's definitely best practices to try to keep from flying the Phantom when there's a lot of wind. You know why? Well, read the story of why you should set your GPS up before flying and you'll get one idea. For another, I've come close to losing my Phantom 2 Vision+ on several occasions when flying during 30 or 40 mph winds simply because the wind pushed my drone out of my field of vision, such as behind clumps of trees or hills at the limit of my vision. In such situations, your only hope for recovery is to rely on your screen to see where you're flying, or to activate the fly home function. It's still an unnecessary risk, though, so I wouldn't recommend it.

I hope these tips help beginners and intermediate drone pilots alike. Really, it's mostly about using your head and not exceeding your limits. There's always another day to fly.

I completely recommend the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter. You can buy it from Amazon here. Also consider the same kit along with an extra battery, case, and SD setup here. Extra batteries are here.


Hi! My name is Mike, and I'm the author of this personal drone blog. If you find the information on my flying drone review blog useful, you can shop through Amazon here.

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