A near-disaster with DJI’s Motion Controller

We’ve played around with DJI’s Motion Controller, an option for its recent FPV Drone combo. We quite like it, and one of our good drone pals absolutely loves it. But as with anything from the world of drones, be cautious.

A lot of us, especially with smaller drones, will do hand captures and palm take-offs. If you’re cautious and know what you’re doing, these are generally pretty safe things to do (though we have seen some accidents). Now, DJI’s Motion Controller introduces a new way to control a drone. That’s fantastic.

But in the case we’re about to see, it’s also potentially dangerous.

How to use the Motion Controller

It’s hard to imagine something more intuitive. You can control the FPV drone, in-flight, with a single hand. If you haven’t seen it yet, it looks like this:

DJI FPV Motion Controller

It’s really simple to use. Simply point where you want to go and squeeze the trigger for throttle. Rotate your wrist to yaw and angle your wrist to bank during corners (we didn’t catch onto the banking feature until we got out on our second flight with it). You can stop the drone at any time with that big “brake” button, and it will simply stop and hover.

That’s how you fly with it.

How not to fly with it

And here’s an example we stumbled upon of how not to fly with it. A TikTok creator who has been pumping out DJI FPV-related videos thought it would be a good idea to demonstrate the controller’s capabilities by jumping and spinning in the air while holding the Motion Controller. While we can see what he was trying to do, we could have also foreseen that doing so in such close proximity to a hovering drone would be fraught with potential for something to go seriously wrong.

Here’s what happened:

Lucky

And creator @j.vlzn certainly was lucky in this instance. Blades can really mess you up.

In fact, we recently saw a Twitter post that we briefly considered as a cautionary tale. It showed two images of a guy in China who had just had a run-in with the blades of what we seem to recall was one of the Mavic Pro models. The model of drone isn’t really what matters here, it’s what can happen.

In this case, there were two photos: One with two parallel, deep gouges in a man’s cheek, maybe an inch below his eyes. The cuts were so deep that to even describe them here might gross you out. The second photo was of both of these cuts stitched up – a process involving many, many stitches and lifelong scars.

Because drones are so reliable these days and – largely – so predictable in their flight, we often forget how dangerous spinning blades can be.

So please, by all means have fun. But if you’re planning on pulling a stunt like this, at least give yourself some safe clearance from the drone. You saw how close this was – and just how quickly it happened.

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