DJI Mavic Air in Depth Series – Part 4 – Aircraft & Remote Controller

DJI Mavic Air in Depth Series – Part 4 – Aircraft & Remote Controller

In the final part of our in-depth look at the new DJI Mavic Air, we take a look at the Mavic Air itself and its dedicated remote controller.

In the series to date, we’ve looked at the Intelligent Flight Battery, safety features and the camera. It’s clear to see it’s an impressive little quadcopter.

In this post, we will look at features such as the Mavic Air’s appearance and design, general functionality and much more.



Specifications

Let’s start by looking at the specifications of the Mavic Air and its dedicated remote controller:

Aircraft

Takeoff Weight

430 g

Dimensions

Folded: 168 x 83 x 49 mm (L x W x H)

Unfolded: 168 x 184 x 64 mm (L x W x H)

Diagonal Distance

213 mm

Max Ascent Speed

4 m/s (S – mode[1])
2 m/s (P – mode)

2 m/s (Wi-Fi mode)

Max Descent Speed

3 m/s (S – mode[1])
1.5 m/s (P – mode)

1 m/s (Wi-Fi mode)

Max Speed (near sea level, no wind)

68.4 kph (S – mode[1])
28.8 kph (P – mode)

28.8 kph (Wi-Fi mode)

Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level

5000 m

Max Flight Time (no wind)

21 minutes (at a consistent 25 kph)

Max Hovering Time (no wind)

20 minutes

Max Flight Distance (no wind)

10 km

Max Wind Speed Resistance

29 – 38 kph

Max Tilt Angle

35° (S – mode[1])

15° (P – mode)

Max Angular Velocity

250°/s (S – mode[1])

250°/s (P – mode)

Operating Temperature Range

0°C – 40°C

Operating Frequency

2.400 – 2.4835 GHz

5.725 – 5.850 GHz

Transmission Power (EIRP)

2.400 – 2.4835 GHz
FCC: ≤28 dBm
CE: ≤19 dBm
SRRC: ≤19 dBm
MIC: ≤19 dBm
5.725 – 5.850 GHz
FCC: ≤31 dBm
CE: ≤14 dBm
SRRC: ≤27 dBm

GNSS

GPS + GLONASS

Hovering Accuracy Range

Vertical:
&plusmn0.1 m (with Vision Positioning)
&plusmn0.5 m (with GPS Positioning)
Horizontal:
&plusmn0.1 m (with Vision Positioning)
&plusmn1.5 m (with GPS Positioning)

Internal Storage

8 GB
[1]Remote controller required

Remote Controller

Operating Frequency

2.400 – 2.4835 GHz

5.725 – 5.850 GHz

Max Transmission Distance (unobstructed, free of interference)

2.400 – 2.4835 GHz:
FCC: 4000 m
CE: 2000 m
SRRC: 2000 m
MIC: 2000 m
5.725 – 5.850 GHz:
FCC: 4000 m
CE: 500 m
SRRC: 2500 m

Operating Temperature Range

0°C- 40°C

Transmission Power (EIRP)

2.400 – 2.4835 GHz:
FCC:≤26 dBm
CE: ≤18 dBm
SRRC: ≤18 dBm
MIC:≤18 dBm
5.725 – 5.850 GHz:
FCC: ≤30 dBm
CE: ≤14 dBm
SRRC: ≤26 dBm

Battery

2970 mAh

Operating Current / Voltage

1400 mA ⎓ 3.7 V (Android)

750 mA ⎓ 3.7 V (iOS)

Supported Mobile Device Size

Max length: 160 mm

Supported Thickness: 6.5 – 8.5 mm

Supported USB Port Types

Lightning, Micro USB (Type-B), USB-C

What’s in the Box?

The Mavic Air is available in a standard package and a Fly More Combo.

The following is included in each package:

What’s in the Box

Mavic Air Standard Package
Main Items
  • Aircraft x1
  • Remote Controller x1
  • Intelligent Flight Battery x1
Accessories
  • Propellers (Pair) x4
  • Propeller Guards (Set) x1
  • Charger x1
  • Power Cable x1
  • RC Cable (Lightning connector) x1
  • RC Cable (Standard Micro USB connector) x1
  • RC Cable (USB Type-C connector) x1
  • Communication Cable (USB 3.0 Type C) x1
  • USB Adapter x1
  • Carrying Case x1
Spare Parts
  • Gimbal Protector x1
  • RC Cable Slider (Large) x1
  • RC Cable Slider (Small) x2
  • Spare Control Sticks (Pair) x1
Mavic Air Fly More Combo Package
Main Items
  • Aircraft x1
  • Remote Controller x1
  • Intelligent Flight Battery x3
Accessories
  • Propellers (Pair) x6
  • Propeller Guards (Set) x1
  • Charger x1
  • Power Cable x1
  • Battery Charging Hub x1
  • Battery to Power Bank Adaptor x1
  • RC Cable (Lightning connector) x1
  • RC Cable (Standard Micro USB connector) x1
  • RC Cable (USB Type-C connector) x1
  • Communication Cable (USB 3.0 Type C) x1
  • USB Adapter x1
  • Carrying Case x1
  • Travel Bag x1
Spare Parts
  • Gimbal Protector x1
  • RC Cable Slider (Large) x1
  • RC Cable Slider (Small) x2
  • Spare Control Sticks (Pair) x1

 

DJI Mavic Fly More Combo and Standard

Unlike the DJI Spark, both packages come with a remote controller, giving you access to greater control without having to pay more. Both modes also come with propeller guards for increased safety levels when using gesture controls and flying indoors.


Design

The design of the Mavic Air is unique, incorporating power into such a small package. It builds on the Mavic Pro’s foldable structure, making it the most portable and compact drone from DJI to date. The arms of the Mavic Air are foldable as well as the multipurpose antennas which function as feet on the Mavic Air. When folded, the Mavic Air can be carried in a pocket or one of the dedicated bags with ease allowing it to be transported anywhere.

The remote controller is also hugely transportable due to its size and design. The sticks can be removed and stored within the base and the antenna and handle fold tight into the body.

via GIPHY

Like the Spark, the Mavic Air is available in a range of colours; Arctic White, Onyx Black and Flame Red.

A noteworthy benefit to the design of the Mavic Air is the gimbal is much more protected than on either the Spark or the Mavic Pro. It is set back and covered at the sides which means if the worst does happen and you crash the drone, the camera is much more likely to be protected from damage. The gimbal cover that’s included as standard is also much more effective than the Mavic Pro. The cover is more secure against the Mavic Air and can be used alongside both of the bags that come in the Fly More Combo.

Mavic Air Protected Gimbal

Unlike the Spark and the Mavic Pro, the Mavic Air features fixed propellers that cannot be folded. This is due to the propellers being streamlined for a more compact fit when folded. The propellers on the Mavic Air fit tight against its body and legs, taking up the smallest area possible. The propellers can also be left on during transport without the worry of damaging them.


Controlling the Mavic Air

The Mavic Air can be controlled using its dedicated remote controller, your smartphone a combination of the two. As we discussed in our previous post on the Mavic Air’s camera, you can also access SmartCapture functionality, however, the mode is only available in conjunction with the remote controller.

A Wi-Fi transmission system is used on dual bands of 2.4 and 5.8GHz. This allows video transmission at 720p.

The antennas are located in the landing gear of the Mavic Air, set away from the body of the aircraft to increase signal strength.

Smartphones with a length of up to 160 mm and a thickness of between 6.5-8.5 mm are compatible with the remote controller.

Remote Controller

When you receive the Mavic Air, it should be linked to the remote controller as this is done before shipping. If you need to link the remote controller, please see our guide here.

Mavic Air Remote Controller

There are three modes available as standard on the Mavic Air for controlling the drone. Additional modes can also be programmed through the DJI GO 4 app if required.

The controller comes in mode 2 which has the following functionality:

Left Stick:

Up/down – This motion is used to control the Mavic Air’s elevation. Move up, the aircraft will go up and down it will go down. The stick is pressure sensitive so the hard it’s pushed, the faster the drone moves.

Left/right – This motion is to control the orientation of the aircraft. Like the above, the movement is pressure sensitive.

Right Stick:

Up/down – This motion is used to control the pitch of the drone. The stick is pressure sensitive which will have an effect on the speed.

Left/right – This motion is used to control the roll of the Mavic Air. The stick is pressure sensitive so the hard it’s pushed, the faster the drone moves.

In order to start the motors, what’s known as a CSC or combination stick command. This is done by pointing both sticks down and towards the centre.

The optimal transmission zone for Mavic Air helps you maintain the best communication between the Mavic Air and the remote controller. The pilot should be facing the Mavic Air with the remote controller facing up and the antennas apart. Please see our example below:

The battery on the remote controller will last up to three hours. It is charged using the standard Mavic Air charger.

Mobile Device

To control the Mavic Air using a smartphone, you will need to hold the function button for four seconds until the aircraft beeps twice then launch the DJI GO 4 app. You will then have to scan the unique QR code on the Mavic Air, as pictured below:

QR Code

Virtual joysticks will then appear in your chosen mode as seen in the image below:

Virtual Joysticks

To launch, click to take off automatically.


Flight Modes

Like the previous aircraft from DJI, three different Flight Modes are available; Positioning, Sport and Attitude. Two of these modes can be selected for flight with the third available during some conditions.

Positioning Mode (P-Mode) – The most common mode for aircraft use, P-Mode allows you to access all of the Mavic Air’s Intelligent Flight Modes, vision systems and general functionality. The mode requires a strong GPS signal for functionality. A top speed of 28.8 kph is available.

Sport Mode (S-Mode) – This mode is for pilots who want to push the Mavic Air to its speed limits. All vision sensors are disabled, with the Mavic Air only using GPS for positioning.  A top speed of 68.4 kph can be achieved. This mode is available to capture high-speed footage or have fun flying. Only use when in a wide open space and a confident pilot. Sport Mode can only be used when controlling the Mavic Air with the dedicated remote controller.

Attitude Mode (A-Mode) – This mode cannot be selected manually. The Mavic Air will enter the mode if there’s compass interference, insufficient GPS or if the vision systems are unavailable. The Mavic Air will not hold its position and will easily move in the wind or with other external factors. If unsure how to fly in this mode, land the aircraft as soon as it is safe to do so.

The selectable mode can be chosen using the Mavic Air’s remote controller or through the DJI GO 4 app. All pilots should learn to fly in all modes to improve overall piloting skills, however, only do so when comfortable to you.


Mavic Air Setup

On receiving your Mavic Air and taking it out of the box will have to unfold the arms and landing gear/antenna. Next, charge the batteries of the Mavic Air that you’re going to use. Once charged, install in the drone and make sure they’re properly fixed in place.

via GIPHY

Also, you may need to mount the Mavic Air’s propellers. Match the corresponding symbols on the propeller and symbols. Simply line up the propellers, push down and twist. The Mavic Air models we have unboxed to date have come with the propellers mounted but knowing this process is valuable.

Make sure you remove the gimbal cover before turning on the Mavic Air. If the gimbal is calibrated with the cover attached, it may result in damage to the gimbal.

You will then have to activate the Mavic Air. This is done by through the DJI GO 4 app. You will have to select your desired operation such as stick orientation and the measurement system as well as linking to your DJI account. For a full breakdown of activation, head to our page here.

For more information on your first flight with the Mavic Air, check out our video below:


Calibrations

Calibrating different aspects of your drone ensure the information they are receiving is accurate, helping you fly without incident. The following calibrations are available on the Mavic Air.

Compass Calibration

Before taking your Mavic Air out for its first flight, you should ensure you calibrate the compass.

In order to calibrate the compass, you will need to connect the Mavic Air to your smartphone. Once connected, select the top menu bar and locate compass. You can then select ‘Calibrate’ then ‘Start’ to begin the process.

You will then be instructed to rotate the Mavic Air 360° in various positions until the compass is calibrated. Please see the below example of this:

via GIPHY

The compass should only calibrate the compass outdoors in an area free of magnetic interference. Do not hold your phone close to the drone as it may cause interference.

You should also calibrate the compass every time you fly in a new location, after a break from flying and if a compass warning message is given.

Vision System Calibration

In addition to the compass calibration, the vision systems may also need to be calibrated. A calibration is done prior to shipping although an update is sometimes required. The most effective way of updating the vision systems is to connect the Mavic Air to the DJI Assistant 2 app using a computer. Once connected with the option selected, follow the prompts that appear onscreen. the forwards, downwards and rear systems will need to be calibrated individually.


Pre-Flight Checklist

All pilots should have a pre-flight checklist they run through before every flight. This helps you ensure both you and your aircraft is suitable for flight. The following areas should be included, however, it’s recommended a more extensive pre-flight checklist is used.

  • The aircraft, remote controller and smartphone used for flight are fully charged and installed correctly
  • Ensure arms and landing gear are unfolded fully
  • Propellers are installed and not damaged
  • Remove the gimbal clamp before powering on the aircraft
  • Turn on the remote control before the aircraft
  • Ensure you know the local rules and regulations
  • The correct storage location is selected i.e. SD card or internal storage
  • Homepoint and appropriate altitude set
  • Weather is appropriate for flight
  • Flight location is free of people and obstacles
  • Following takeoff, hover the Mavic Air at 15ft away from yourself for 15 seconds and check functionality

For a copy of the Heliguy pre-flight checklist for your drone, please head to our previous Insider post here.

Mavic Air in Flight


Frequently Asked Questions

Which SD cards are recommended for use with the Mavic Air?

The following are recommended for use by DJI:

16GB – Sandisk Extreme and Kingston SDHC-I SDCAC/16GB.

32GB – Sandisk Extreme V30, Sandisk Extreme V30 A1 and Sandisk Extreme V30 Pro A1.

64GB – Sandisk Extreme V30 A1 and Sandisk Extreme Pro V30 A1.

128GB – Sandisk Extreme V30 A1 and Sandisk Extreme Plus V30 A1.

Does the Mavic Air come with an SD card?

No – An SD Card does not come as standard.

In the Mavic Air waterproof?

No – You should avoid flying the Mavic Air around water unless safe to do so. Also, avoid flight in rain and snow to prevent damage.

What winds can the Mavic Air be flown in?

It’s recommended the Mavic Air isn’t flown in winds that exceed 24 mph.

Can I use a Mavic Pro or Spark remote controller?

No – Only a Mavic Air controller is compatible.

How do I sync the Mavic Air and its remote controller?

Set the remote controller button through the DJI GO 4 app then hold this button along with the white button on the back of the Mavic Air.

How does the Mavic Air compare against the Spark and Mavic Pro?

For a full comparison of the DJI consumer drones, head to our previous blog post here.


Check out more of the Heliguy guides on the Heliguy Help page.


Summary

From testing out the DJI Mavic Air, it has proved to be an impressive quadcopter with a highly functional design and striking capabilities. From its size, weight and ability to fold to its Intelligent Flight Modes and smart features, we have not been disappointed.

DJI have taken the best parts of their consumer range and created an all-new quadcopter that stands out from the rest.

If you’re looking for a small yet extremely capable drone, the Mavic Air will likely be right for you.


To discuss the new DJI Mavic Air, or any DJI or Freefly product, please give one of our team a call on 862 298 5964 or email us at [email protected].


Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more announcements, insights into drones and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

Comments are closed here.