How to Hand Launch and Toss Launch FPV Drone

by Oscar

Hand launching an FPV drone can be useful, or even necessary in certain situations, but let’s face it, it’s risky as well. Having experience with various methods, I want to share insights into the least unsafe ways to hand launch and toss launch your FPV drone. Understanding these techniques is crucial, especially in situations where you can’t safely place your drone on the ground for a conventional takeoff.

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The Dangers of Hand Launching

Hand launching and Toss Launching are extremely risky, I’d advice against doing it. You can cut yourself very easily if something goes wrong, say if you mounted the wrong props the drone might just flips over when you try to arm it.

If you still want to know how to do it, here’s how I would personally do it. But again, if you decide to go ahead, do so at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damage caused.

How to Toss Launching

Toss launching is relatively straightforward but not without its challenges. The goal is to throw the drone and quickly arm it to gain control before it crashes.

Before attempting to launch, allow the gyro to calibrate by keeping the drone still, preferably on a flat surface. Movement, even slight, can prevent proper calibration. Once calibrated, your drone should be ready to launch.

Decide whether to launch with goggles on your face, or leave them on your forehead, so you could launch the drone in line of sight and then transition to FPV only once the drone is stable in the air.

Some people prefer to launch in Angle mode so the drone automatically levels out once armed (perhaps a bit more beginner friendly), while experienced pilots might prefer to do it in acro mode to avoid any unnecessary/unexpected drone movements.

After tossing, ensure the drone is far enough from you before flipping the arm switch, to avoid injuries.

How to Hand Launching

Hand launching has higher risk of injury than toss launching, thus proceed with caution. While toss launching is safer, there are scenarios where hand launching might be necessary.

Most people prefer to do this in acro mode to prevent the drone from trying to level out immediately upon arming.

Hold the drone away from your body, facing away.

Slowly increase the throttle, letting the drone lift off from your hand.

To safely arm your drone while holding it, disable the PID loop using this Betaflight CLI command. This command ensures the drone doesn’t react violently when armed in your hand.

set pid_at_min_throttle = OFF

Air Mode

Additional safety measure is to disable permanent air mode and assign switch for it. With that you can assign angle mode without air mode on. Quad will not freak out as badly in angle / stable mode if it hits something.

If you disable Air Mode, then the PID loop will not permanently activate when pid_at_min_throttle=off. If Air Mode is disabled, then every time you lower the throttle to zero, the PID loop will disable.

Conclusion: Safety First

Hand launching and toss launching are my last resorts for taking off, I’d avoid at all costs. Always prioritize your safety and ensure your drone is thoroughly tested and calibrated before attempting these launches. Practice in a safe, controlled environment, and always be prepared for unexpected drone behavior. Remember, these techniques are risky and should only be attempted if absolutely necessary. Oh, I almost NEVER hand catch, I would rather disarm from 2 meters.

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