How to prepare and start a free flight mission

The free flight mission is recommended for advanced users to map more difficult objects (e.g. sides of houses, towers, pylons, bridges, etc). It requires to pilot the drone and to understand how to fly an optimal flight path.

To do a free flight mission:

Step 1. Prepare a free flight mission
Step 2. Start a free flight mission

Step 1. Prepare a free flight mission

1. Open the app.
2. In the home screen, select Free Flight Mission.
The map view is loaded.


  • If internet connection is established, a background map is displayed.
  • The mission can also be prepared in the office. The displayed map is cached in memory and will be available when starting the mission in an area without the Internet connection: 115002056523.

3. (optional) On the left of the screen, change the settings of the free flight (horizontal and vertical image spacing).

By default, the horizontal and vertical image spacing are set to 5 meters (Android) or 3 meters (iOS) and 3 meters respectively. This is well suited to reconstruct an object at a distance of approximately 20m. It is recommended to choose the horizontal and vertical image spacing that there is enough overlap between the images. For more information about optimal flight plans: 202557459.

4. Center the map on the area of interest: 115001609983.

Step 2. Start a free flight mission

Once the mission has been prepared, it can be started.

1. Place the drone in a clear area of at least 10 by 10 meters that can get easily GPS signal.
2. Turn on the remote controller.
3. Turn on the drone.
4. (DJI) Set the drone to be flown in manual mode by switching the corresponding button on the controller.

5. In the app, tap Start.

The drone will not take off at this points.


6. Check that the app is connected to the drone. If yes, tap Next.


7. Verify that all security checks that are displayed are green. If yes, the drone can start taking pictures. If not, solve each security issue until it becomes green. For more information about how to solve the security issues: 204113219.


8. Manually take off and fly towards the area to be mapped.
9. Tap on the button Take Pictures (Android) or Start (iOS) to start taking pictures.
10. Fly over the area of interest until images have been taken to cover the whole area.

During the mission:
  • The map view displays the current position of the drone. It allows keeping track of the mission.
  • When the drone reaches the mission altitude, check that the camera is pointing towards the area of interest. It can happen that the gimbal is not properly initialized and that the camera is not looking in the correct direction. The gimbal can be manually changed during flight by going to the camera view and pressing the down arrow. 
  • The signal to take a picture is sent from the app during the mission. If there is an issue with the app or the device, no images are taken and the mission has to be redone.
  • Don't fly too fast. If you fly too fast, the app will not be able to record the images at the requested intervals.
  • If pictures are missing over an area, fly back to that area. The app will record the missing pictures.

11. When the area has been covered, tap Stop (Android) or Abort (iOS) to end the image acquisition.


12. Land the drone and synchronize the images with the device and upload on the cloud following: 202557269.

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Article feedback (for troubleshooting, post here)


  • Mehmet Unal


    PRODUCT : Phantom 4 Pro V2
    OPERATION WITH : Apple I Pad Mini 4
    SOFTWARE : Pix4DCapture

    1 -When i use FREE FLIGT mode, i can not hear shooting sound.
    2 -When i need manually picture and also i can not doing this with remote control.

    Could you help me please. What should i do ?

    Is there a solution for that ?


  • Gaël (Pix4D)

    Hi Mehmet,

    1. Even if you do not hear any shooting sound, the most important thing is to look if the pictures are taken by watching on the application when flying. A little camera will pop up along your flying path for each picture taken.

    2. You do not have the possibility to manually take a picture when using Pix4Dcapture and running a Free Flight mission as it has not been implemented in the application. In your case, the issue is due to the fact that the SDK that allows the communication with the drone's firmware, cannot interact with both Pix4Dcapture and DJI GO 4. I will take the opportunity to share with the developer's team your feedback so that they consider to implement a feature to take pictures manually.


  • Mehmet Unal

    Hi Gaël ,

    Thank you for your clear answer. But i remember, when i were using P4P with Pix4DCapture on Free Flight mode i can take the picture while drone flying and also i can here the click sound. Sometimes operator not control the speed and drone cannot take the picture in the line and when i notice this i go back and push the button and take the picture.

    On my side, i have tried today P4P V2  and i see my drone is taking picture even i flying free mode. But just i can not here the sound. (i have checked also clik sound in DJI GO, it was working i can here very well ). It was not big deal but sometimes if the drone is pas the line without the picture i can control this because of sound. 

    If you want me to try something for this issue i would gladly try. 

    Best Regards,



  • Twinkle Solanki

    I have a different question, In any way is it possible to automatically give a vertical flight mode to the drone so that it flies to a specific height let say 20meters and then comes down waiting 1 min every 1 meter ?? 

  • Gaël (Pix4D)

    Hi Twinkle,

    The Free Flight mode is semi-automatic, meaning that the control of the drone is manual and the picture triggering is automatic up to the vertical and horizontal distance you defined in the settings.
    However with the Free Flight mode nothing prevents you to go to 20m high with your drone and slowly go down manually. Pictures will be triggered automatically every x meters.
    There is currently no possibility in Pix4Dcapture to fly a kind a "vertical" Grid mission automatically.


    Edited by Gaël (Pix4D)
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