We’re excited for you to get started with your Skydio 2. Before you fly, please check out all of the guidance and suggestions at skydio.com/safety, where you’ll find best practices, links to additional content, and regulatory information to enhance safety as well as your overall experience with Skydio 2.
Check out our quick tutorial video to learn more about how easy it is to fly, then dive into the User Guide sections below for greater detail:
|1. Insert a microSD card into the Skydio 2 SD card slot to capture your footage. The Skydio 2 requires a UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) or faster microSD card to record 4k video. Skydio 2 may need to format your SD card, so please ensure any data is safely copied off the card before use. Note that Skydio 2 cannot fly without a properly formatted microSD card.|
|2. Attach the Skydio 2 battery to your Skydio 2 and charge the battery using the included USB-C cable and Power Adaptor. Note that Skydio batteries are held in place magnetically and may be removed by pulling on them.|
|3. The LEDs on the Skydio 2 battery will indicate the current state of charge. You may also tap the button on the front of the battery to display the current state of charge. The LEDs will pulse while the battery is charging. While charging, the Skydio 2 should be in an open area as it is normal for the chassis to become warm to the touch. When fully charged the LEDs on the battery will remain solid for one minute then turn off.|
LEDs will pulse on and off
Will display solid then turn OFF
Connecting to Skydio 2
While your battery is charging, download and install the Skydio 2 app on your mobile device. The Skydio 2 app is available via the App Store® and Google Play™.
Once your battery is fully charged, launch the Skydio 2 app and power on your Skydio 2 by pressing and holding the battery button for 3 seconds. As you move through the first onboarding steps in the Skydio app, you will be asked to enable location and microphone services on your phone which are required for the Skydio 2 to function normally, and to register your Skydio 2 with your email address (you only have to do this the first time you fly).
Skydio 2 uses WiFi to communicate with your phone and other Skydio accessories. When prompted, enter your Skydio 2’s WiFi name and password into the Skydio app. You may find your drone’s WiFi name and password on the sticker attached to the drone or inside the Skydio 2’s battery tray. Be sure to remove the sticker marked “Remove before flight” before flying Skydio 2.
Updating Skydio 2
Always make sure you are flying with the latest Skydio 2 software. If there is an update available for Skydio 2, the Skydio 2 App will guide you through the required steps. If an update is available, it’s best to download the Skydio 2 update when you have access to an internet-enabled WiFi network.
Before You Fly
- Because Skydio 2 navigates visually, it is essential to keep all of its cameras clean. Use the included cleaning cloth (or any clean microfiber cloth) to ensure that all cameras are dust and smudge-free before every flight.
- Skydio 2 uses magnets to retain the battery which may attract metallic debris that could compromise the safe fitment of the battery. Prior to installing any battery, visually inspect the bottom of the Skydio 2 and top of the battery, including connectors, to ensure they are free of objects, debris or damage. Verify the battery is fully seated in the aircraft prior to takeoff. Do not fly with any batteries with enclosures that are cracked, gouged, dented or otherwise substantially physically deformed. Contact the Skydio support team if you suspect an issue with battery use or with the batteries themselves.
- If using a mobile device running the Skydio 2 app, ensure any Battery Saver or Low Power modes are disabled. These modes may interfere with Skydio 2’s ability to communicate with the device and negatively impact your flight experience.
- Remove the gimbal retaining clip from the front-facing camera. Before takeoff, you may notice that the gimbal is slightly askew—this is normal behavior, and once in the air the gimbal will align itself.
- Ensure all propellers are firmly attached and free of nicks, cracks, or other visible damage. Never fly with damaged propellers.
- When flying with the Skydio 2 app, audio will be automatically recorded from the device and added to the recorded video after the flight ends. If Skydio 2 is flown with only the Beacon accessory and no connected phone, no audio will be recorded.
Where to Fly
- You are responsible for your Skydio 2 at all times. Always follow FAA guidelines for UAS piloting. Check resources like knowbeforeyoufly.org or apps like B4UFLY for more info.
- Skydio 2 can only fly in normal daytime conditions. Since it navigates visually, it won’t work at night or in other low-light situations.
- Skydio 2 is not weatherproof and requires good visibility. Do not fly in any precipitation, including rain, fog, or snow.
- Skydio 2 should not be flown when winds or gusts are above 25 mph.
- Do not fly in temperatures below 23° F (-5C) or above 104° F (40C).
- Please read this article for more information on where to fly Skydio 2: Where can I fly my Skydio 2?
Your First Flight
For your first flight, we recommend finding a clear, open space away from others on level ground with at least 20 feet of clearance in every direction (including above). Make sure nothing is obstructing the propellers at your launch location. Although flying Skydio 2 is easy and intuitive, it's a good idea to give yourself and others a little space when flying for the first time.
If you purchased an optional accessory such as the Controller or Beacon, we highly recommend you perform your first flight without these accessories in order to complete the Learn to Fly experience.
Set your Skydio 2 down on clear, flat ground at least 10 feet away with the front camera facing toward you. You may also use the top of Skydio 2’s case as a convenient launch and landing pad.
Launching Skydio 2 is as simple as holding the Launch button. Once Skydio 2 is in the air, the
Skydio app will begin the Learn to Fly experience, which will teach you the basic controls and capabilities of your Skydio 2. You may replay the Learn to Fly experience at any time from the Skills menu.
Note: Skydio 2 requires a stable GPS connection to fly greater than 10m/33ft. above the point of takeoff. This may not be possible when flying in GPS denied environments such as indoors, heavy urban areas, and deep canyons; or when flying near large metal structures such as radio towers and bridges. If you are having any difficulty getting your Skydio 2 to fly above 10m/33ft., you may need to fly a few meters in a lateral motion (forward, backward, left, or right) to acquire a GPS lock. This is true regardless of which method you’re using to fly (app/phone-only, with Beacon, or with Controller). Check out this article for more detail: How does Skydio 2 use GPS?
- Keep your fingers away from the propellers anytime they’re spinning such as during launch, flight, and landing.
- When landing, Skydio 2 descends straight down and does not avoid obstacles. Ensure your landing area is flat and clear of obstacles.
- Do not intentionally try to crash Skydio 2.
- When following a car or other vehicle, follow while off-road or on a closed course. Never use Skydio 2 over public roadways.
- The Skydio 2’s metal frame may become hot to the touch in high-temperature environments or direct sunlight, even if powered off. The metal frame may also become hot if powered on while on the ground for long periods of time.
- The Skydio 2 only avoids obstacles that are not in motion. Cars, boats, balls, animals, other drones, other people, or similar moving objects may not be avoided if they’re moving. You should exercise extreme caution and good judgment when flying with other people around. If you know that you’ll be around others in motion, we suggest you leave the Height Floor setting enabled to ensure Skydio 2 maintains a safe elevation.
- Do not fly over bodies of water more than 30 ft. across if Skydio 2 indicates a GPS quality warning.
- Skydio 2 can’t see certain visually challenging obstacles. Do not fly around thin branches, telephone or power lines, ropes, netting, wires, chain link fencing or other objects less than ½ inch in diameter.
- Do not fly around transparent surfaces like windows or reflective surfaces like mirrors greater than 60cm wide.
- If your Skydio 2 does hit an obstacle it can’t see, it will do its best to stabilize itself and continue the flight.
- When the sun is low on the horizon, it can temporarily blind Skydio 2’s cameras depending on the angle of flight. Your drone may be cautious or jerky when flying directly toward the sun.
- Your Skydio 2 can fly up to 36 mph under most conditions.
- If your Skydio 2 can’t see you, it may stop following you temporarily. It will wait until it reacquires you visually or uses your Beacon’s GPS to find you.
- Skydio 2 may instruct you to land if it encounters an error or determines the environment is not safe for flying. When instructed to do so, immediately fly Skydio 2 to the safest area nearby and land.
- Flying at high altitudes may significantly increase the time required to return and safely land the Skydio 2. The pilot is responsible for managing the vehicle’s altitude, range and battery level at all times.
- Be sure to watch the flight tutorials in the app and pay attention to any in-app messages.
The Flight Screen
|Device Settings Menu|
|Gives users access to in-flight settings for the Skydio 2 as well as control settings for the phone and Controller (when connected).|
|Height Floor Determines if the Skydio 2 will always attempt to stay at least 8 ft above the selected subject when following, even at the expense of tracking performance. See the Understanding Height Floor section for more details about this important setting.|
|Manual Flight Control Style
Dual Sticks Mode
|Signal Strength Indicator|
|Displays the current strength of the user’s radio link to the Skydio 2 while in flight. As the signal strength decreases, users may experience a lower quality video feed or a delay in their controls. For best signal quality, always maintain a direct line of sight between the phone or controller and the Skydio 2 and avoid flying in areas with electromagnetic interference.|
|Displays the current battery level of the Skydio 2 drone.|
|Provides access to the camera settings and allows users to change between video and photo recording mode. Skydio 2 can capture photos or video but not both at the same time. Users may change their camera settings at any time before or during flight. Please note that changing the camera settings before launch may cause Skydio 2 to return to the pre-flight screen and re-calibrate its vision system. Some camera settings (such as video resolution and framerate) cannot be changed while autonomously tracking a subject. Skydio 2 must be under manual control to change these settings.|
|Video capture mode|
|Video Capture Settings
|Photo capture mode|
|Photo Capture Settings
* HDR is not supported in all video resolutions and framerates
|While the Skydio 2 is flying autonomously, such as following a subject or flying to a waypoint, the user may tap the red stop button to cancel the current action and place the drone into manual control mode.|
|Stop button during autonomous flight|
|While the Skydio 2 is in manual control mode the land button is available. The user may press and hold the land button for 3 seconds to command the drone to land at its current location.|
|Land button during manual flight|
|The blue & white ‘+’ icon indicates a person or vehicle that Skydio 2 is capable of tracking. Tapping the indicator will command the Skydio 2 to enter autonomous flight mode with the selected object as the tracking subject.|
|Subject available for tracking|
|Subject being actively tracked|
|Tips for best tracking performance:
The on-screen flight controls are the primary method for controlling Skydio 2 during both autonomous and manual flight. Manual flight controls are the same in all skills and may be customized by the user in the “Phone” tab of the device menu while autonomous controls are unique for each skill.
See the Manual vs. Autonomous Flight section of this guide for more details.
|The skills menu gives access to Skydio 2’s library of cinematic skills. Each skill is a different cinematic style of filming and capturing a subject. See the Skills section of this guide for more details.|
|Each skill may have its own custom settings that only affect that skill while it is selected. Users may tap the skill settings button to customize each cinematic skill’s behavior to suit their needs.|
|Return to Home|
Tapping the Return to Home button gives you the ability to have Skydio 2 automatically return to either the launch location or your current location.
If a Home Point has been set for this flight, the “Launch Point” option will be replaced with “Home Point”.
|Tap the map icon (lower right) to enter the map view. The location of your phone, Skydio 2, and Skydio 2’s launch location are all indicated on the map. To exit the map view, tap the map icon again.|
|Fly to Waypoint|
|Users may fly to a specific GPS location by long-pressing on the map and selecting “Fly Here Now” from the menu. Skydio 2 will warn the user if the selected destination is far away or outside the vehicle’s expected battery range.|
Users may create a Home Point (or move the existing Home Point) by long-pressing on the map and selecting “Set Home Point” from the menu. Home points are optional and must be set at the beginning of each flight, they are not saved between flights.
If a Home Point is present during a flight, Skydio 2 will automatically return to that location in the event of a loss of communication. Tapping on a Home Point on the map gives users the option to fly the drone to that location immediately or remove it from the map.
Like your own personal camera crew, Skydio 2 knows what to film and intelligently flies itself during your activity to get the best shot. Using the Skydio 2 app, you have a wide range of control over the type of shot you’d like to capture with your drone, via an ever-growing library of unique skills.
Anytime you want to get creative while filming, just select a different skill in the app. With most skills, you can adjust the height and range the Skydio 2 will film from, as well as other skill-specific controls and settings. The onscreen controls in the Skydio 2 app work in harmony with each skill to give you intuitive control over your drone’s point-of-view.
|Skydio 2 will track a subject from a specified angle relative to the subject’s direction of motion, such as from the front, side or behind. Great for ensuring Skydio 2 always captures the subject from a specific angle, such as the front, as they move.|
|Skydio 2 will track a subject from a fixed angle regardless of which direction the subject is facing or moving. Perfect for keeping the sun at a specific angle or ensuring a great background stays in the frame.|
|Skydio 2 will rotate around the selected subject in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction, keeping the subject in the center of the frame.|
|This powerful skill allows you to mark two points in the sky and have Skydio 2 fly along a fixed path between them, like a virtual "cable cam".|
|Skydio 2 will hover in a fixed position, as if affixed to a virtual tripod, rotating and tilting the camera to look at the subject as they move.|
One-Shots are special skills that perform a specific maneuver (such as a dronie) and then end, returning to the previously selected skill once the shot is complete.
|Skydio 2 will fly up and outward, increasing in range, while continuing to track the subject.|
|Skydio 2 will fly straight up to capture a bird’s eye overhead view of the subject.|
|Skydio 2 rotates once around the subject, beginning close, flying outward, and finally returning close to the subject.|
|Skydio 2 will fly up and outward while rotating around the subject.|
Learn to Fly
|(Only available when using the Skydio 2 app on your phone) Learn the basics of how to track subjects and control your Skydio 2. This tutorial appears automatically on your first flight, and you can repeat it at any time.|
Check out Using Skills within the Skydio 2 app for more info.
Manual vs. Autonomous Flight
In addition to being a fully autonomous flying camera with predictive subject tracking, Skydio 2 can also be flown manually while retaining full obstacle avoidance.
When you are not following a subject or using a specific skill in flight, the app can be used to manually fly Skydio 2.
|Manual Controls: Default|
|You may customize these controls by opening the Device Settings menu and selecting the Phone tab|
While in manual flight, you may double-tap anywhere on the flight screen to fly directly towards that spot.
Obstacle avoidance is always active when flying manually. Skydio 2 will smoothly route itself around obstacles, ignoring any commands that could potentially cause a collision.
To enable autonomous flight, choose a subject you would like the drone to follow by tapping the ‘+’ icon.
To stop following a subject in any skill, tap the Stop button at the top of the screen. Note that the Stop button will change to a Land button after the Skydio 2 stops following a subject).
Understanding the Height Floor
The Height Floor setting can have a significant impact on Skydio 2’s tracking performance. As such, it is important for all pilots to understand how this setting works as well as how and when it is safe to disable it.
How it Works
The Height Floor setting is enabled by default on all Skydio 2 drones. While this setting is enabled, Skydio 2 will attempt to remain at least 8 ft above the tracked subject while in any autonomous follow mode. This helps create a buffer of space between the Skydio 2 and any moving objects, such as people, pets or vehicles.
While enabled, the Height Floor setting may affect your flight in a number of ways:
- While following a subject, Skydio 2 may become “trapped” by obstacles and unable to continue following due to the height restriction, even though the space underneath the drone is clear.
- You will be prevented from lowering Skydio 2 below the 8 ft height floor any time a subject is being tracked, such as when using the on-screen controls to set the desired follow height or using the Beacon’s Wand feature.
It is important to note that the Height Floor setting only applies while a subject is being tracked. If Skydio 2 is in manual flight mode with no subject selected, you always have full control over the vehicle’s height.
Disabling the Height Floor Restriction
The Height Floor setting may be accessed both pre- and in-flight through the Drone tab in the Device Settings menu.Height Floor setting disabled
|Height Floor setting enabled (default)|
|Height Floor setting disabled|
Disabling the Height Floor may increase tracking performance by allowing Skydio 2 to fly under low-lying obstacles, such as tree branches and overhangs, to maintain a visual line of sight. It also allows users to set the preferred follow height low to the ground, capturing high-energy shots from a unique ground-hugging perspective. As stated in the Safety and Operating Guide, the Skydio 2 only avoids obstacles that are not in motion. Cars, balls, animals, other drones, other people, or similar moving objects will not be avoided if they’re moving faster than walking speed.
The combination of low elevation flight and high-speed tracking presents an increased risk of collision with moving objects. Skydio, Inc. strongly recommends users only disable the Height Floor setting when operating in wide open, outdoor spaces with no other people, animals, or other moving objects nearby. Pilots maintain full responsibility for the safe operation of their Skydio 2 drone at all times, including during autonomous flight.
When you are ready to end your flight and land your drone, first stop any subject tracking and manually fly the drone to a safe landing spot that is flat, clear of debris, and not overhead of any people or animals. Once you’re ready to land, press and hold the LAND button on your phone screen.
Skydio 2 will descend until it is 3m (10 ft) above the surface below it. Once Skydio 2 is less than 3m from the surface the LEDs on Skydio 2 will turn yellow and all obstacle avoidance will be disabled for the remainder of the landing. Users will be notified of this change on screen if flying with the Skydio 2 app.
WARNING: Skydio may recognize bushes, trees and similar obstacles as potential surfaces. Make sure to first pilot the drone to an open area free of obstacles before initiating a landing.
While Skydio 2 is landing you may nudge the drone forwards, backward, left, or right using the Controller or digital thumbsticks in the app.
WARNING: Do not attempt to hand catch Skydio 2 before the LEDs turn yellow. Attempting to hand catch Skydio 2 while obstacle avoidance is active will cause it to attempt to avoid your hand and may result in Skydio 2 impacting yourself or another nearby object.
You may also cancel any non-emergency landing by tapping the red Cancel button before the landing completes.
Important Note: After Skydio 2 has landed it will begin syncing the recorded audio from the mobile device to the drone’s video. Skydio 2 must stay powered on and connected to the app while this sync is in progress for audio to be added to the videos.
Hand Launching and Hand Landing Skydio 2
Launching and landing Skydio 2 from your hand is a quick and convenient way to start or end your flight, particularly if you can’t find a clear flat spot to take off, but it should be done with caution for your safety. Both maneuvers are dangerous and should not be attempted in unstable environments, such as during high winds or while standing on a moving vehicle or boat. We highly recommend that users do not attempt hand launching or landing their first few flights with Skydio 2 until they’ve become familiar with the product.
Please read this article before attempting hand landing/launching: Hand Launching and Hand Landing your Skydio 2
When you are out in the wild it isn’t always possible to find a clean area to land your Skydio 2. To initiate a case landing, the Skydio case must be on level ground and in view of Skydio 2’s camera while it is landing. A yellow ring will appear around the case in the live video feed to indicate that Skydio 2 has seen the case and will land on it. If you do not see the yellow ring, Skydio 2 will not land on the case and will continue to descend straight down.
Piloting or nudging the vehicle during a case landing will cancel the case landing and continue with a normal landing.
NOTE: If a flight is initiated by taking off from a case (or a case is placed at Skydio 2’s exact take-off point), GPS positional accuracy cannot be relied upon to guarantee a case landing when using the Return to Home function (or in the case of an RTH triggered by lost communication).
See these articles for best practices and more information:
Recovering a Lost Drone
In the event that your Skydio 2 is lost, you may view its last known location by selecting the vehicle from the “Info” tab on the app home screen and selecting “Find <vehicle name>”.
Viewing and Saving Media
After your flight, you may view all photos and videos captured on your drone’s microSD card in the Media tab of the Skydio 2 app.
- To save one or more photos and videos directly to your mobile device’s photo album, long-press on a file to enter selection mode and select all the media you wish to copy, then select Save to Phone.
- You may also tap on any photo or video to preview it before saving.
- When utilizing the Interval photo mode, all photos captured will appear as a single stack of photos. Tapping on the stack will allow you to scroll through individual photos one by one.
- When previewing a video, you may create a clip of the video to save instead of copying the entire video to your mobile device, which may be significantly faster and take up less space.
- Skydio 2 can record video in either AVC (H.264) or HEVC (H.265). Different mobile devices and personal computers have different compatibilities with these encoding standards. Attempting to save a video or make a clip with an encoding that is not compatible with your mobile device may cause playback issues.
- When capturing photos in JPG+DNG mode, only the JPG files will be displayed in the Skydio 2 app. You may download the DNG image files directly from the SD card.
You can remove the microSD card from your Skydio 2 and use it with any microSD or SD card reader to view and copy your full-resolution videos and photos on your personal computer. You may also directly attach Skydio 2 to your computer with the USB-C cable to view and copy your full-resolution videos and photos off of the microSD card. Connecting via USB to a computer that does not supply charging power will cause Skydio 2 to run off of battery power and may drain the battery.
Any changes or modifications to this equipment not expressly approved by Skydio for compliance will void the user’s authorization to operate this equipment.
This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of the following measures:
- Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
- Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
- Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected.
- Consult the dealer or experienced radio/TV technician for help.
This device complies with part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) This device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.
This equipment complies with FCC radiation exposure limits set forth for an uncontrolled environment. The distance between user and products should be no less than 20cm. The end user must follow the specific operating instruction for satisfying RF exposure compliance. This transmitter must not be co-located or operating in conjunction with any other antenna or transmitter.
California Prop 65 Warning
Lithium-ion Batteries and/or products that contain Lithium-ion Batteries can expose you to chemicals including cobalt lithium nickel oxide, and nickel, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
This device contains license-exempt transmitter(s)/receiver(s) that comply with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s license-exempt RSS(s). Operation is subject to the following two conditions:
- This device may not cause interference.
- This device must accept any interference, including interference that may cause undesired operation of the device.
L'émetteur/récepteur exempt de licence contenu dans le présent appareil est conforme aux CNR d'Innovation, Sciences et Développement économique Canada applicables aux appareils radio exempts de licence. L'exploitation est autorisée aux deux conditions suivantes :
- L' appareil ne doit pas produire de brouillage;
- L' appareil doit accepter tout brouillage radioélectrique subi, même si le brouillage est susceptible d' en compromettre le fonctionnement.
Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions!
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