One of the many benefits of having a sub 250g drone is that the small footprint is ideal for flying in places that might be difficult for larger drones.
For instance, this could include flying through small openings or in slightly dense or obstacle-filled areas.
Another benefit of a sub 250g drone is being able to fly it indoors. The Mini 2 SE is no exception.
Can You Fly DJI Mini 2 SE Indoors?
Yes, you can fly the DJI Mini 2 SE indoors by purchasing propeller guards, setting the Mini 2 SE to hover when the signal is lost, adjusting the control sticks EXP settings (all within the DJI Fly app), and flying in Cine mode.
Reasons for flying indoors
There are quite a few reasons why someone would want to fly a drone indoors and we’ll take a look at some of these.
Hobbyists new to drones
We’ve all been there before – new to drones. With drones becoming more commonplace, many individuals are getting into the hobby on a regular basis
There’s nothing like the feeling of initially opening the box of a shiny new drone and wanting to get flying immediately.
And, there is nothing worse than not being able to do so.
Sometimes there are conditions beyond our control that might make flying the Mini 2 SE outside impossible at the time, such as inclement weather (rain, snow, extremely strong wind gusts), or it being dark outside when we finally get the drone set up and ready to fly.
Practicing maneuvers and stick control
There are some, like me, that might fly indoors so as to practice complex patterns and maneuvers.
When flying indoors, there are many obstacles and challenges to overcome: low ceilings, lamps, hanging fixtures, and walls, just to mention a few. Flying indoors is like having your own obstacle course.
Some choose to fly indoors so as increase reaction times and practice precise movements with the control sticks, all of which benefit outdoor flying or commercial work.
Small drones, like the Mini 2 SE, are quite beneficial to commercial pilots for filming and taking pictures of indoor locations and facilities, such as large warehouses (I’m thinking Amazon), factories, and loading bays.
These locations can be tens of thousands of square feet (or more) and a handheld camera on a gimbal can take quite a long time to film the location.
Flying a drone indoors cuts that time substantially, while simultaneously providing unique perspectives.
Is a license needed for flying indoors?
As mentioned, there may be professionals that need to fly indoors for commercial work.
As we are aware, in the United States, per the FAA, or Federal Aviation Authority, if you are flying a drone for commercial purposes, regardless of a drone’s size, it must be registered and the drone operator must be Part 107 certified.
This is where it gets interesting. The FAA is responsible for regulating activity in manned airspace.
A drone of any size flying indoors is out of their jurisdiction, as it is not in any regulated airspace.
This means that you neither have to register the Mini 2 SE nor have a Part 107 certificate or license to fly the drone indoors, as it is not in manned airspace nor comes in contact with any aircraft.
However, if you are interested in registering your Mini 2 SE in the United States, or acquiring a license for commercial drone work, please see the following articles and resources:
There are a few features and settings, within the Mini 2 SE and DJI Fly app, that aid the Mini 2 SE in flying indoors.
We will touch on these as well as a few general tips, which can be applied to many different drones.
Downward Vision Positioning System
Before discussing the various settings and tips used to safely fly the Mini 2 SE indoors, there is an incredibly useful feature built into the drone that aids in its stability when flying indoors.
This is the Mini 2 SE’s downward vision positioning system.
Although the Mini 2 SE does not benefit from tri, 4-way, or omnidirectional obstacle avoidance systems, the use of a downward vision positioning system aids in flying indoors as it is used to stabilize the altitude of the drone, although with limited or no GPS signal indoors it could drift left and right quite a bit.
Without this vision positioning system, the Mini 2 SE would behave more like early model drones from years ago, difficult to hold the position of the drone in the air, which could contribute to possible indoor crashes.
Propeller guards seem to get a bad rap in the drone world, with many thinking of them as one would training wheels on a child’s bike.
Yes, prop guards are good for those beginning to fly drones, but they are also useful when flying indoors.
Also, like training wheels, propeller guards can be easily removed when not needed, such as when flying outdoors.
Propeller guards are useful, as they:
- Protect the propellers, motors, and gearbox in the unfortunate event the propellers hit a lamp, wall, or other objects when flying inside
- Protect items that might be in the home such as lamps, pieces of furniture, pictures, and even pets like curious dogs and cats
- Protect the drone operator or another person in the vicinity from injury, should the drone hit them
While there are various types of propeller guards on the market, we suggest prop guards that not only protect the sides of the propellers and drone but also the top.
Thankfully, for the protection and peace of mind prop guards provide, they are relatively inexpensive and just might save household items or even the Mini 2 SE in the event of striking an indoor object or person.
DJI Fly App Settings
Within the DJI Fly app are settings that will assist in making flying indoors an easier and safer event.
Signal Lost Settings
The first important step is to tell the drone what to do in the event the Mini 2 SE loses connection with the remote controller.
In this case, the safest course of action, when in the home, would be for the drone to hover in place.
Things that could cause signal loss would be concrete or brick walls, metal items such as metal studs and girders, as well as WiFi and other signal interference.
If the Signal Lost is not set to Hover, then the drone will possibly initiate Return to Home (RTH), rise to the height specified in the settings and head back to your location.
This could be disastrous when indoors, especially without propeller guards, as the drone will most likely smash into the ceiling and plummet to the ground.
To change Signal Lost to Hover, go into camera view and tap the 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner.
Now, choose the Safety tab and scroll down to the Advanced Safety Settings option and choose it.
Once in the Advanced Safety Settings, locate Signal Lost and set it to Hover.
When you have completed your indoor flight(s), remember to change the Signal Lost option back to your desired settings when you continue flying outdoors.
There’s nothing worse, in this case, than being out and about, having the Signal Lost set to Hover and not being able to retrieve the drone because it is out hovering over an inaccessible lake or the ocean or between buildings downtown.
Although Cine Mode is not a flight setting within the DJI Fly app, it can be very useful when flying indoors.
Cine Mode, activated by a switch on the front of the RC-N1 controller, is short for Cinema Mode and limits the speed at which the Mini 2 SE rises, lowers, moves forward and backward, and turns.
It is called Cine Mode because this particular flight mode is ideal for getting smooth sweeping cinematic shots when filming.
It is beneficial for flying indoors, because it slows down all movements of the drone, making it easier and more controllable to fly.
Back in the DJI Fly app are the Expo settings for the control sticks.
Like the Cine Mode we just talked about, the Expo settings are ideal, as they can be fully customizable and set the sensitivity of the pitch, roll, and up and down functions.
Additionally, these Expo settings can be modified individually for each of the Mini 2 SE’s modes: Cine, Normal, and Sport.
To change Expo settings, go into camera view and tap the 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner.
Go to the Control tab, locate the Gain & Expo Tuning option, and press the right-facing arrow.
Once in the Gain & Expo tuning, you will be able to select which mode you’d like to adjust (Cine, Normal, and Sport) and customize them individually to your particular style.
Something to be aware of when changing the settings, the larger the curve, the slower the drone will react while in that particular zone.
Useful Tips for Flying Indoors
Now that we have gotten the settings for flying indoors buttoned down, we’ll go through a few general tips for flying indoors.
Be aware of your surroundings
Being aware of what is inside your home (or any other indoor environment) is very important when flying indoors.
Many of us suffer from tunnel vision when flying drones, and this is no exception when flying indoors. It actually gets worse in some cases.
If you practice looking out for all objects, obstacles, and moving targets, like pets, you’ll be less likely to crash your Mini 2 SE.
Likewise, if flying in an unfamiliar indoor environment for the first time, like in a warehouse or similar structure, paying attention to the environment and looking out for unknowns will be a drone saver.
Refrain from using automated functions & features
When flying indoors, it is best to perform take-offs and landings, manually.
If you are accustomed to auto take-offs, auto take-offs in an indoor environment can possibly bring the drone higher than intended, causing a safety issue.
Likewise, it is best to refrain from using the Mini 2 SE’s QuickShots, such as Helix, Dronie, Rocket, Circle, and Boomerang, even in large warehouse-sized environments, as these could easily crash the drone and cause property and equipment damage.
Additionally, be careful not to accidentally initiate RTH (return to home), as you will not want your Mini 2 SE shooting up to its designated height and crashing in an attempt to come and find you!
Keep from flying near the ceiling
Yes, drones are meant to fly high, but that’s pretty much when outside.
When flying indoors, it is best to keep the Mini 2 SE from getting too close to the ceiling, especially if prop guards have not been attached.
Although the Mini 2 SE is a small and lightweight drone, if it gets too close to a ceiling it could quickly get sucked up into the ceiling, causing it to crash.
Maintaining a few feet of distance between the drone and the ceiling should provide adequate protection.