Tips for Flying a Drone Over Water (Video)

As we are currently in spring and with summer quickly approaching, people are enjoying more and more water-based activities. Some of these activities will be filmed by drone.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne/AISCF

A question that generally arises around this time of year, after the lakes and ponds have unfrozen and folks get back to the waterways is: What steps are needed to fly a drone safely and confidently around and above water, and ensure it returns home?

In this article and the included YouTube video, we will go over various tips and steps needed to fly any drone over water safely, as well as some weather-related considerations to aid in this. We’ll be using DJI drones for the step-by-step portions of this article.

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Plan or know your environment. This is a simple statement, but very loaded.

One of the great things about many modern drones is their size and portability. Because of this, we can easily toss a foldable drone in a bag or in a vehicle and fly when near an interesting location.

If we are in a location we know like the back of our hand, flying that area’s waterways should be no big issue.

Knowing the area, however, means:

  • knowing the environment’s inhabitants such as birds and other wildlife that can pose a threat to your drone
  • knowing if there are actual no-fly zones that intersect the water
  • knowing if there are seaplanes or helicopters in the vicinity
  • knowing if there are drone no-fly zones posted by the local government

If you are planning an actual trip to a specific, previously unknown area, like somewhere on vacation, then it is recommended to plan the flight.

Planning your flight can be done in the following ways:

Consult Google Maps or Apple Maps

This is an easy first step, as it basically only requires putting in an address, or an address in the vicinity of your travel destination, putting the map in hybrid view (to see the streets, landscape, and topography), and then scrolling around the map at a magnification that works for your view.

Research Using Drone-Specific Apps

After getting a lay of the land with Google or Apple Maps, using a drone-specific app can help dive deeper and see what types of airspace and warnings are in the vicinity.

Apps that can aid in this, that we recommend are:

  • B4UFLY
  • UA Forcast

» MORE: 13 Apps Every Drone Pilot Needs (Must Read)
» MORE: How to Apply for LAANC on a Smart Device using ALOFT Air Control (Video)

ALOFT Air Control

All of the apps mentioned here give much-needed information for drone flights such as real-time maps, active airspace, with Aloft and UA Forcast displaying weather-related information.

2. Pre-Flight Checks

Something recommended by most drone operators, regardless of where flying, is preflight checks.

Why is this so important? Because unlike flying over land, the chances of retrieving a submerged drone might be very small, whereas a crashed drone, on land, can more easily be recovered, with minimal damage.

Some of the major areas to check, before flying are:

  • Batteries. Drone and Remote Controller
  • Propellers
  • GPS Satellite lock
  • Return to home. We will touch on this more

While these areas are important to check prior to flight, there are of course many more areas that should be built-in to the pre-flight process prior to any flight, all of which can save your drone from “drowning” or crashing into a person or property.

» MORE: What to Check Your Drone for Before a Flight (Read This First)

3. Turn off Vision Positioning Systems (VPS) in DJI Go 4

Now this is an interesting tip, one that even DJI recommends.

Note: This step is only for those using the older DJI Go 4 app to fly their drones. The newer DJI Fly app and the drones associated with it (DJI Air 2 and 2S, Mini 2, 3, and 3 Pro, as well as the Mavic 3 series) cannot turn off the VPS system.

In short, VPS is a technology used by DJI drones to map the surrounding surface below the drone, aiding in its positioning. This partially helps keep it steady when there is no stick input.

Because water is a reflective surface, flying over it with VPS on can cause issues, one of which is the drone attempting to land in the water when too close to the surface.

To disable the Vision Positioning System (VPS) in DJI drones running DJI Go 4:

STEP 1: Go into the Go 4 menu system by tapping the 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Image Courtesy of DJI

STEP 2: Locate and enter the sensor(s) tab on the left-hand side of the screen.

STEP 3: Ensure Obstacle Avoidance is enabled.

STEP 4: Go into Advanced Settings.

STEP 5: Turn off “Enable Vision Positioning.

4. Manually Update Home Point

This tip is more for those that will be filming over the water from a boat, kayak, or other type of watercraft.

When on a moving boat, it is important to update the home point regularly, as the drone operator might be in multiple locations during the time of the flight. In the case of an RTH (return to home) incident, it is beneficial for the drone to return to the current location

Those that plan to film waterways and will be walking the length of the shore might also benefit from updating the home point regularly, as one could easily be quite a distance from the initial launch site.

For filming waterways, you can either:

  • Manually set the home point
  • Set the home point to follow the remote controller. This is best for when on a boat.

To update the home point in the DJI Fly app:

STEP 1: After going into the general settings, under the Safety tab go into Update Home Point.

You will then be brought to the adjust home point map.

STEP 2: Drag the map around until the H (home point) has been moved to where you’d currently like it.

If you would like to set the remote controller as your home point, simply press the RC icon and the home point will be set to the controller.

5. Know the Weather and Conditions

Another very important thing to know or research when flying over water is what the weather is going to be like. In particular, knowing the wind and wind gust speed.

Sure you can look around and see pretty clearly if it is going to rain, however, knowing what the wind is doing a few hundred feet above the water can mean the difference between a successful flight or a downed or lost drone.

When it comes to wind, although it might be constant at 3 or 4 mph a few dozen feet from the ground, once at 100 or 200 feet in height, that breeze can suddenly turn into raging gusts, making it difficult to control the drone or even return the drone to your current position.

Also, wind speed can quickly deplete a drone battery, causing other types of issues (mentioned later).

Another thing to consider is something called convective currents.

Convective currents are affected by objects that hold or generate either heat or cold. Depending on the source affecting them will determine how your drone will fly through the current.

For instance, if flying on a summer day and a drone takes off from a hot parking lot, the air currents push the drone upwards (hot air rises). Once that drone begins to cross a cooler area during flight, say a body of water, the currents will push down on the drone (cool air falls).

Being aware of these currents can aid in keeping a drone out of the water if flying too low. In these situations, the drone operator can be prepared for the adverse action of the current when flying over cool water in the summer, and adjust accordingly.

6. Be Mindful of Obstacles

When flying around and over waterways, there are obstacles to be aware of that one might not normally encounter when flying over land.

Waves and Seaspray

Being aware of waves and seaspray really affects those daring drone operators that aim to get right in on the action with their shots.

An unsuspecting wave can and has taken out the drones of those that are paying more attention to the shot rather than their surroundings.

Seaspray is also an enemy of drones. Although it might not cause a drone to immediately fall from the sky, there could be damaging effects to the drone over time as the internals of the drone begins to corrode from exposure to salt water.


When filming boats, it is advisable to keep a reasonable distance. As the saying goes “objects in mirror are closer than they appear”. Likewise, a boat, while filming, may seem a lot further away than it really is either to the naked eye, from a distance, or on a tiny smart device screen.

I have personally seen drones crash into boats while filming. Again, this is mostly because of not paying attention to the immediate filming area or misjudging the boat’s path.


Living and filming in a state where predatory birds are quite common, it is a must to look out for these and plan accordingly when filming in their vicinity.

This is a touchy subject for me, as I have been the unfortunate recipient of an osprey strike that drowned one of our drones. Thankfully I was able to go swimming and retrieve it.

A good tip when flying near water is to bring the drone up a few dozen feet above where it launched and wait a few seconds to see if any birds show interest in it. If none do, then you are good to fly.

If any birds do try to engage the drone, fly straight up to avoid them, as birds cannot fly straight up. After doing this a few times, the birds most likely will lose interest, if not near their nest.

If flying in the vicinity of a nesting bird, it is best to fly away from the immediate area.


If you live in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, or Texas (just to name a few), being cautious of alligators is recommended.

Alligators can launch themselves from the water to a height of 5 feet. This is something they commonly do to grab birds and rodents off low-lying limbs and branches over the water. They can do the same to low-flying drones.

There has been at least one recently documented news incident of an alligator grabbing a drone out of the sky and then the drone caught fire as the alligator chewed on it, no doubt causing some harm to the alligator.

There’s a mentality Floridians have and that is, if there’s water, assume there’s a gator in it. This type of thinking could one day save a drone if flying in the mentioned states.

7. Avoid Running Batteries Down Completely

This might sound like a no-brainer, however, when in the middle of flying, one can quickly lose a sense of time and be utterly shocked when the drone begins to initiate RTH (return to home) due to a lack of battery percentage.

The reason it is best to avoid running batteries down completely is based on something mentioned early, that being wind.

When flying along seashores, over open water, and low-lying lakes, the wind can kick up literally out of nowhere. If the drone is out a few hundred yards, on only a few percent battery life, and the drone is flying against the wind, there is a very strong chance the drone will not make it back home.

Again, this is something that is well documented online, where quite a few people have lost their drones to wind due to not having enough battery percentage to get back to the home point.

We are always suggesting landing around the 25% to 30% mark, for battery health. When it comes to flying around oceans and lakes, this process can prove beneficial.

8. Use Intelligent Flight Modes

This last tip is a matter of preference.

Many newer drones have some sort of intelligent flight mode built in, whether it be some sort of course lock, Point of Interest mode, or follow-me mode.

When flying over water, using something like a course lock or follow-me mode (for boats or jet skis) will enable the operator to either “set a course and forget it” or draw a box around a watercraft, let the drone do its thing, while the pilot focuses on the shot or video and minding things like battery percentage, etc.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro Intelligent Flight Modes (Explained for Beginners)

General Tips

Recommended Flying Height

When it comes to flying over water, one thing to keep in mind is the best minimum height to safely fly the drone without losing it to water.

DJI strongly suggests flying no lower than 3 feet (1 meter) above the water’s surface. This is important, as we have touched on, waves can kick up causing the drone to be lost, convective currents can cause the drone to suddenly dip, or the drone may initiate landing procedures thinking the water’s surface is the ground.

Beach Launches

When flying on the beach, it is advised to bring along a landing pad, as launching from one minimizes the amount of sand that can be blown into the motors or even the drone’s internals.

If you don’t have a landing pad, in a pinch, I personally have used and recommend using a floormat from inside the car.

Simply place the rubber end of the mat on the sand (if you have mats that also have a carpeted side) and go. This works very well, albeit slightly cumbersome, as mats don’t fold for easy storage in a gear bag.

Can You Fly DJI Mini 3/ Mini 3 Pro in Rain

So you got yourself a DJI Mini 3 or a Mini 3 Pro and you have been enjoying sunny cloudless skies.

Image Credit:

That’s all fun and safe, but what happens when the weather takes a turn for the worse and rain starts pouring down? Can drones be flown in the rain? Is your DJI Mini 3 water-resistant?!

The DJI Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro are not waterproof and should generally not be flown in the rain. Flying in the rain can be dangerous for the drone’s battery, as the wet conditions can cause it to overheat. Rain can also affect the durability of a drone’s battery, causing it to corrode over time.

This article will explore the risks and safety considerations of flying drones in wet weather conditions.

We’ll also discuss the potential reasons you might need to fly your drone in the rain and provide tips for doing so safely.

So, if you’re wondering if you can take your drone out for a spin in the rain, read on to find out!

Are the DJI Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro Waterproof?

Although drones are generally not considered to be waterproof, their use in the rain can be a tricky consideration. Drones, like most electronics, can be negatively impacted by water.

Rain can cause water seepage into the drone’s electronics, causing irreversible damage and leading to the failure of the drone’s vital components.

It is important to note that flying in the rain can be dangerous for the drone’s battery, as the wet conditions can cause it to overheat.

Rain can also affect the durability of a drone’s battery. If the battery isn’t waterproof, it will likely begin to corrode when exposed to water.

This can cause permanent damage and lead to the failure of the drone’s various components.

Therefore, it is important to check the battery specifications beforehand to ensure it is waterproof and will function correctly in wet conditions.

Furthermore, showers can reduce visibility and make it difficult to control the drone, offsetting flight motions and trajectory.

The DJI Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro are not waterproof and have no water resistance rating given by DJI, according to the website’s FAQ page.

It is clearly stated that should you encounter rain during the flight, return to land as soon as possible and wait until your drone is “fully dry inside and out before using it again.

The DJI Mini 3 and DJI Mini 3 Pro are two of the most advanced drones on the market and are designed with features that enable them to withstand many adverse environmental factors.

However, water can get into the electronics and sensors through the open ports and short-circuit the electronics.

From research, it can be seen that the DJI Mini 3’s motors are actually resistant to damage due to water as the wiring used in the brushless DC motors is insulated and can work even if they get wet.

Rainwater, though, contains salts and particles which can seep into the motor, clog, and damage it.

Ensure you thoroughly clean your drone motor if you get caught in rain.

Optional equipment for flying in wet weather

Regardless of its specifications, it is prudent to invoke some obligatory precautions when using a drone in the rain including:


Wetsuits are special suits or seals made from rubber, designed to cover vulnerable areas like the battery port, power button, and the rear of the drone.

The aim is to provide the drone with an air-tight seal on the open ports when you fly and greatly minimize the risk of damage when you fly in the rain.

These rubber suits create a pressure seal that provides excellent water protection even in very high rain.

They make quality products and have developed a loyal following in the DJI community.

Landing gear floats

Landing gear floats are floatation devices that fit on the underside of your drone, mind you these are not foolproof by any means and although the aim is to allow drones to take off and land over bodies of water.

It is recommended to refrain from doing that and only using them when occasionally flying in rain as a way to prevent water and debris from damaging the sensors at the bottom of the drone.

Wet weather precautions

Below are a few precautions to consider and steps to follow should you decide to fly in rain with your DJI Mini 3/Pro:

  • Ensure flying in the rain is legal and you have the right permits.
  • Check all weather reports before flights, including wind speed and gusts, to determine if flying is safe.
  • Ensure the drone and all accessories, such as the remote controller, batteries, and propellers are checked for any visible signs of water or other liquids.
  • If using a wetsuit, inspect the wetsuit seals on the drone’s body to ensure there are no worn spots, holes, or obstructed areas.
  • Make sure you are flying in an open area away from trees or other obstructions that can cause turbulence or impact during flight.
  • Ensure the drone has a low power output to minimize the risks of accidentally flying into thunderstorms or strong wind gusts.
  • Reduce the payload on the drone to reduce overall weight, if possible.
  • Shorten the flight distance while staying within eyesight to better control the drone.
  • Avoid flying near water sources, such as streams and rivers.
  • If thunder and lightning are present, make sure to go indoors and wait until these stormy conditions clear up before attempting to fly.
  • Steer clear of high-voltage power lines.
  • Avoid collision with other aircraft.
  • In the event that the drone does get wet, wipe it off and as soon as possible.

Wet weather benefits

As much as flying in the rain comes with its fair share of risks, it also offers some benefits to drone operators.

Here are a few ways flying drones in wet weather conditions can help in flight-related activities:

  • Improved Visibility – Flying a drone in the rain can help to improve visibility. Rain can help to reduce the glare of the sun, making it easier to see the drone and its surroundings.
  • Refined Photography and Video Quality – Flying a drone in the rain can help to improve the quality of photographs taken. Rain can help diminish the sun’s glare, making capturing clear and vibrant images and videos easier.
  • Enhanced Flight Time – Flying a drone in the rain can help extend the drone’s flight time. Rain can help reduce wind speed, making it easier for the drone to stay airborne for longer periods.

Words of caution

It is generally not recommended to fly a DJI Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro in the rain in Canada, the US, or anywhere else in general, since the weather conditions and resultant moisture can cause the unit to malfunction and cause damage to the unit or to those around it.

Additionally, the batteries used on these aircraft are not waterproof and can be permanently damaged if exposed to too much moisture or rain.

Therefore, to avoid potential damage or issues, it is best not to fly a DJI Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro in the rain in general.

Should you happen to by mistake, follow the steps prescribed by DJI and see a DJI-authorized technician should there be further issues.

If you plan to fly in rain purposefully, make it a well-planned, short flight and follow all the precautions stated above.

Flying the DJI Mini 3/ Mini 3 Pro in the rain is not recommended but is possible. It is not designed to withstand extreme rain and stormy winds.

We suggest avoiding flying the drone in the rain and waiting until the weather is clear and dry.

DJI Air 2S – Tips, Tricks & Settings (From a Professional)

Just purchased a new Air 2S? Or are you a current Air 2S owner who has been enjoying it for a few months to a year now? Regardless of your time with the Air 2S, it’s unanimous that it is quite a capable machine.

Like most DJI drones, there are quite a few things that can be done to customize the experience for the way you fly and shoot, right through the DJI Fly app.

We’ll be going over various tips, tricks, and settings, broken down by area of interest, that you might not have heard of before or even thought of, all of which can assist in you producing the best images or video possible.

These Tips, Tricks & Settings are categorized as Gimbal Related, Photo and Video Related, Remote Controller Specific, and Miscellaneous.

Gimbal Related Tips

Horizon Level Adjustment

As someone who shoots a fair bit of video for clients, there is nothing more annoying than arriving on-site, getting all of the camera settings correct for the conditions, sending the drone up for footage, and seeing that the horizon level is off, although it had been set prior.

This has happened to me numerous times on non-DJI manufactured drones and also a couple of times on my Phantom 4 Pros.

The easiest way to tell if your horizon is level is by taking the drone up a few dozen feet and seeing if the background is, well, level.

A pretty poorly shot example of a crooked horizon is below. I took this shot a few years ago on day one with my first ever drone. WOW.

First Shot Ever
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

There are two ways to correct a crooked horizon. One way that many photographers and videographers use is through post-processing software. However, the best way to do so is within the DJI Fly app, before even taking pictures or videos.

To level your horizon on the Air 2S, you can use one of two methods. Automatic (for when on a flat/level surface – like a sidewalk or a driveway) and Manual, for when you are already in the air.

  1. Tap the Settings Menu (the 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner of the Fly app).
Image Credit: Dan Bayne
  1. Go to the Control Tab and scroll down to Gimbal Calibration.

    You will see the 2 mentioned options: Auto and Manual.

    If you choose Automatic, the process will proceed and then complete, with no input from you.

    In our particular case now, choose the Manual Option.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne
Image Credit: Dan Bayne
  1. There will be options to change the values for the Horizon and, interestingly, the Yaw. The Yaw adjustment basically adjusts the camera left and right.

    The Horizon option allows you to adjust the gimbal roll to the left or right until the horizon line is straight.

    When you are happy with the image leveling, you can just tap the X on the upper left of the screen to return to the Camera View screen.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Pro Tip: If you have your gridlines turned on, you will be able to use them to visually straighten the horizon line. We will discuss turning on the gridline options later in this article.

Below is an example of a level horizon, using the Air 2S’ manual calibration.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Move the Gimbal with On-Screen Touch

This is one of those functions that some don’t realize is actually a thing. I personally do not see a use for it, in my day-to-day function, however, some might have use for it.

While in the air, or on a solid surface, you can basically move the camera up and down or side to side by simply pressing and holding the screen, then sliding your finger side to side and up and down. By doing it this way, you won’t necessarily need to turn the Air 2S.

Again, to do so, simply press and hold anywhere on the main camera-view screen and drag your finger. The camera will follow your finger. You will be presented with up/down, left/right movements represented in visual degrees.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Upward Gimbal Rotation

Upward gimbal rotation allows you to tilt the camera upwards 30 degrees past the horizon center. This may be useful for, but not limited to, the following reasons:

  • Underbridge/structure inspection or viewing
  • Taking pictures under tree canopies
  • Taking Hyperlapses or videos of clouds, while under them
  • Filming hot air balloons from below

To allow Upward Gimbal Rotation:

  1. In the main menu, go to Control
  2. Scroll down to Allow Upward Gimbal Rotation
  3. Make sure the slider is blue (activated)

Conversely, if your drone is already set this way and you’d like it turned off, simply slide the option off, so the switch turns gray. The gimbal will no longer rotate upwards past the 0-degree mark.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Gimbal Pitch Movement

For those that want the smoothest gimbal motion(s) when shooting cinematic video, the standard gimbal pitch speed and smoothness may need to be adjusted.

The movement of the gimbal pitch, as you may know, is controlled by the wheel on the upper left of the Air 2S controller. When you change the speed and smoothness in the DJI Fly app, no matter how fast you rotate the wheel, it will respond according to the parameters you set.

To change the pitch speed and smoothness:

  1. Go into the main menu
  2. Choose the Control tab
  3. Go to Advanced Gimbal Settings
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Once in the Advanced Gimbal Settings, you will be able to play around with the Pitch Speed and Pitch Smoothness parameters, represented by the 6 and the 16, respectively, on the image.

Moving the values up or down (using the slider) will either increase or decrease that particular function’s speed or smoothness.

These values are also independent of the particular flight modes you are in, being Normal, Cine, and Sport. You can choose to change all of them or just focus on one particular mode’s setting.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

FPV Mode

This is an interesting one. The Air 2S is known to be a great piece of equipment for shooting high-quality, smooth, 5k footage. At times, though, you might want to change the status quo and have a bit of fun.

With the FPV mode on the Air 2S, you can basically lock the gimbal so there is no stabilized compensation for the Air 2S movement, keeping the camera fixed. Whichever way the Air 2S turns or banks, you’ll clearly see it in your footage, as drastic turning.

To activate FPV mode:

  1. Go into the main menu
  2. Go into Control
  3. Change the mode from Follow Mode (the standard, smooth, stabilized mode) to FPV Mode.
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

» MORE: Read this article for more information on FPV drones

Picture and Video Related Tips

On-screen Exposure Adjustment

Changing exposure on the Air 2S can easily be done on-screen, without having to go through the lower right-hand side Menu Bar System to change things manually, like the Shutter and ISO in Pro mode (the equivalent of a camera’s Manual Mode), or even leaving the exposure on Auto.

There are times when it is necessary to take the reins for a moment, while in Auto Mode, and get the Air 2S’s exposure to where you want it and not where the drone thinks it should be.

Thankfully for those not wanting to be in Pro mode, you can indeed easily adjust the exposure on screen, with the swipe of a finger.

To change the exposure while in Auto:

  1. Tap your screen and you will see the yellow exposure box (which looks like a thin-lined yellow box with a sun icon on the right-hand side).
  2. Press your finger on the screen and slide it up and down to brighten or darken the screen.
  3. That’s it!

Note: The on-screen exposure adjustment only works while the shooting mode is in Auto and not Pro Mode. We will discuss going into Pro Mode shortly.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Histogram, Zebra Lines, Gridlines (Oh-My) & Focus Peaking

Just like with a standard ground camera (DSLR or Mirrorless), the DJI Fly app includes a set of tools to assist in composing great shots and taking better videos.

We will go a little into what these particular tools are and show how to access them. They are actually all on the same options page, so it is convenient to get to and enable them all.

A histogram gives a visual representation of your drone camera’s exposure.  It allows you to immediately see if the image or video is too light or too dark, in real-time.

The left side represents the shadows and blacks, the right side the highlights and whites, and the center represents the mid-tones.  

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Like the Histogram, the overexposure warning is a tool used to assist in properly exposing your shot. With this option turned on, any overexposed area (too bright) will show up with a series of zebra lines.

These lines are a screen overlay that does not show up on the final image or video.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Focus peaking likewise can be turned on and, when enabled, gives a red highlight around the areas in the image or video that are in focus.

The intensity of the peaking, or peaking level, can be set to Low, Normal, or High.

Image Credit: Ian in London

There are 3 different styles of gridline overlays that can be enabled on the Air 2S, these being:

  • Rule of Thirds
  • Diagonal
  • Center Target

In the image below, you will see that I fly with all 3 options turned on.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

To enable Histogram, Overexposure Warning, Gridlines, and Peaking Level:

  1. on the Main menu go to the Camera Tab
  2. Under General, you will see the 4 options.
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Camera Settings Bar and Pro Mode

The camera settings bar may go unnoticed by some Air 2S first-time owners and contains useful settings such as White Balance, Image Format (JPEG or JPEG + RAW), Image Ratio (3:2 or 16:9), and SD Card Storage information, and the ability to change from internal to external storage.

To access these settings, click on the area at the bottom of the Camera View screen as shown below.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

For those not wanting to stay in Auto mode when taking pictures or filming, there is the ground camera (DSLR/Mirrorless) equivalent of Manual Mode, called Pro Mode.

When in Pro Mode, you have complete access to ISO and Shutter speed, all needed when manually exposing your image or video. Because the Air 2S has a fixed Aperture of 2.8, this can not be adjusted.

To access Pro Mode:

  1. Tap the small camera icon on the bottom right of your Camera View screen (it is most likely set to Auto).
  2. After tapping Auto, it will then go into Pro Mode. The screen will have probably darkened. This is normal, as the ISO and Shutter are now able to be changed.
Image Credit: Dan Bayne
  1. While in Pro Mode, simply tap the highlighted area below to adjust the ISO and Shutter.
Image Credit: Dan Bayne
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Remote Controller Option Tips

Function (FN) Button Behavior

Looking at the face of the standard Air 2S remote controller, you will see the FN button. This button has behaviors or options assigned to it, based on the number of times you press the button.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

You can press the button once to perform a task or double-press it to perform another task, essentially letting you do 2 actions through one button.

The customizable actions that can be assigned to the button groups are as follows:


  • Advanced Camera Options
  • AE Lock/Unlock (auto exposure)
  • Hyperlapse Cruise Control
  • Increase EV (exposure value)
  • Decrease EV (exposure value)


  • Recenter Gimbal
  • Auxiliary LED (enables you to toggle the auxiliary LED)
  • Toggle Map/Live View
  • Gimbal Follow/PFV Mode
  • Advanced Camera Settings
  • AE Lock/Unlock
  • Hyperlapse Cruise Control
  • Increase EV
  • Decrease EV

To access and change these actions:

  1. Go to the main menu
  2. Go to the Control Tab.
  3. You will see the Button Customization section.
  4. There you can go to the individual dropdowns for Tap and Double Tap to change the FN button behavior to the options listed above.
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Device Charging

A fairly popular option that was included in the Air 2S is the ability for the RC to charge the device it is connected to.

Some operators like this, as they don’t have to worry if their Phone/Tablet has enough of a charge to make it through their current session or paid assignment.

On the other hand, some do not want their electronic device charging through the RC, depleting the much-needed charge in the RC itself. I personally fall in this category.

Whatever your preference is, you can either enable your RC to charge your device or you can turn this option off, by going to the Control tab and then down to the Phone Charging option.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Miscellaneous Tips

The following are tips that don’t have a particular category, but may be useful to many using the Air 2S.

Detailed Battery Information

The Air 2S has detailed battery information that highlights how many minutes you have until:

  • RTH (return to Home)
  • Forced Landing
  • Battery 100% depleted

This comes in handy when considering on-site battery management or just determining how much juice you’ll have to complete a shoot, etc., in the area.

To look at this information, simply press the battery percentage icon on the upper right-hand section of the camera view screen to see the information.

This information is viewable when the Air 2S is airborne.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Updating the Home Point

When you turn on the Air 2S and Remote Controller and it connects to the available satellites, the home point is automatically set. For many, this is perfect.

However, there are times when you might want to go in and manually set the home point. An example of this may be when flying around a park and you’ve been walking around quite a bit while flying, and you’d like the Air 2S to return to your current location when you hit RTH (Return to Home).

There are 3 separate Home Point options:

  • Set home point on the map, using the drag method
  • Set home point where the remote controller is located
  • Set home point where the Air 2S is currently hovering

You can get to these 3 settings (manually telling the Air 2S where you want the home point set):

  1. Go into the main menu
  2. Go to the Safety Tab
  3. Update Home Point.
Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Setting home point on the map, using the drag method

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Setting the home point to where the remote controller is located

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Setting the home point to where the Air 2S is currently hovering

Image Credit: Dan Bayne


Here we have only a hand full of the many many tips, tricks, and settings that can enhance your experience with the Air 2S. As more firmware updates come out, it will be great to see if any more options and functionality are added to an already feature-rich consumer and prosumer drone.