A truly exhilarating time spent with Chinese drone giant Dà-Jiang Innovations, aka DJI, during the launch of the Mavic 2 series of drones, the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic 2 Zoom. Whether you are an action sports junkie trying to capture over the top moves, an aspiring cinematographer/ photographer aiming to produce captivating aerial scenes, or simply a social media influencer hoping to take your selfie game to a new level, DJI has a breathtaking series of drones across a wide range of sizes and prices depending on your needs and preferences.

Explaining the inspiration behind the latest innovation, DJI president Roger Luo said: “Our dream has always been to make a drone that exists where engineering, technology, and the needs of the aerial photographer converge. A drone that embodies all of DJI’s advanced, signature technologies, and is able to redefine what is possible for the world of aerial photography.”

In creating both the Mavic 2 Pro, the world’s first drone with an integrated Hasselblad camera and Mavic 2 Zoom, industry’s first foldable consumer drone with optical zoom capability, DJI has made this dream come true.

Described as the most advanced DJI camera drone ever built, the Mavic 2 Zoom also comes with new gimbal-stabilized cameras and advanced intelligent features like Hyperlapse and ActiveTrack for easier and more dynamic storytelling.

While we may be new to the game of drone flying, we were totally stoked to be among select few media companies to pilot these new generations of drones launched, which cost between R25 999 for the Mavic 2 Zoom and R29 999 fo the Mavic 2 Pro. The SA product experience, held at Nirox Sculpture Park in Krugersdorp, courtesy of Core Group/iStore, comes just five months after the first DJI store opening in the African soil in Cape Town in April. After a tiring, lengthy presentation on the art and the science behind the latest models, the time finally came for our first clone flight across the lush green fields just a few hundreds of meters away from the park’s main reception.

My assigned flight instructor was none other than DJI communications manager Olivier Mondon, who flew directly from Germany to South Africa especially for the Mavic 2 series launch. Although I was reluctant at first to give it a try – after all the idea of piloting a drone can be a nerve-racking experience – it helped greatly that Mondon was patient enough to take me through the step by step newbie guide, precisely on how the drone reacts to the remote/transmitter so as to avoid silly crashes.

After practicing some basic maneuvers, learning what the different buttons represent, not only was I able to launch the drone off the ground. Once I figured how to hold the throttle in a steady position to keep it airborne, I pushed the stick forward to fly it a few feet forward and then pull it back to return it to the original position – for now that’s all I needed to know and I was happy. You got to agree with us though; drone flying isn’t just for experts, geeks, or if you may the so-called drone enthusiasts looking to push their creativity to the limit. If we can do it, so can you, the average Joe!

Here are some of the basic things NOWinSA learned you need to know to get started:

What / eligible clone size
While past-time drones weigh no more than 1.5kg, you are allowed to fly a drone that weighs up to 7 kg.

Where?
RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) vicinity – do not operate within 50m or closer to any person, property or public road, unless approved by the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

Do not fly/operate a clone near a manned aircraft or 10 km or closer to an aerodrome (airport, helipad, airfield). You are not allowed to fly higher than 150 ft from the ground unless approved by SACAA.

When?
Apart from not being allowed to fly at night, ensure that clear weather conditions. Similarly, you are not allowed to operate a clone while under the influence of alcohol.

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