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Oct. 2016 Vol 22 # 10 . The Amazing DJI Phantom 4 Drone!

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The Amazing DJI Phantom 4 Drone Quadcopter

By Howard Berenbon

The DJI Phantom 4 Drone/Quadcopter is an unbelievable quadcopter. It's the newest design from DJI with lots of features that will blow you away (no pun intended--and the Phantom 4 won't get blown away by the wind). For safety, it has sensors in the front to stop the copter from crashing into objects. If it see an obstacle, it will stop and hover until you change direction. All previous Phantoms had no such protection. The 4K camera takes amazing videos. And the Phantom 4 uses GPS for location. The intelligent app let's you fly with no experience, though it's best to watch DJI tutorials so you can learn how to correctly use your Phantom before taking your first flight.

Now, set up does take a while because you need prepare the copter for a its first flight. You'll install the propellers, charge the battery and the controller, install the app in your tablet or phone and register with DJI. I use an iPad Touch 5 and an iPod Air. I prefer using the smaller device, the iPod Touch, because it's light. At first I used my iPad Air, but I found it added extra weight to the controller making it somewhat awkward to hold. Before you fly, you'll need to visit the FAA website and register for a license. It's required and cost $5. You will also have to set the compass buy walking the copter around 360 degrees twice. My first flight was semi automatic. I had the copter set to beginner's mode limiting the height and distance to 30 meters (90 feet). To start, you swipe the slide on your display to the right (you can also land it by swiping again). This starts the engines and then raises the Phantom to a 4 feet height hovering in place awaiting your commands. Don't forget to select video, and then press the video record button. Don't want to miss recording your very first flight. The display will show lots of stats like battery status, height of your copter, and you'll also see a Google Earth map with your position. I moved the throttle up gradually and evenly to slowly raise the machine, then stopped and hovered about 60 feet at tree top level. Next I rotated the copter to get a 360 view of the area. Later, I removed the MicroSD memory card and copied the video into my computer. See the attached videos. Oh, and you'll want to remove "basic mode" to standard so you can fly to the maximum height, which is limited to 400 feet (FAA rules) and distance is line of site. For your drone safety, there's a Home button that when pressed it will return your copter to the start position. This is an important option especially if you loose visual track of your drone. Just press the "panic" button, and it will fly home. Very important button to protect your investment.

Recent Drone Flights


My first flight was at home, but you'll want to take it to a park to do some real flying, and first practice flying close before you send it a 1000 feet away. The video is amazing, because of the quality of the camera and the gimbal stabilizer. Oh, before you fly, check with your local city government to make sure it's okay. Some cities have banned flying drones in certain areas. I checked, and my town has no restrictions.

The Phantom 4 bundle sells for around $1300 which includes 2 batteries. Visit for more information.


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