Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series delves into the history of the DJI Virtual Flight app, how it pairs with other DJI FPV drones and controllers, and why it’s no longer compatible with the DJI RC Motion 2. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.
I just purchased the DJI Goggles Integra and DJI RC Motion 2 Combo Kit with Avata drone. This is my first FPV drone, and I was excited to start practicing with the DJI Virtual Flight App. Unfortunately it looks like the RC Motion 2 is not compatible. Any suggestions??
Unfortunately, you are correct. The DJI Virtual Flight App is not DJI RC Motion 2 compatible. I confirmed with my contact with DJI that there is no solution for practicing FPV flight with the Motion Controller 2.
DJI also did not do anything to indicate that an app update would be coming that could potentially make it DJI RC Motion 2 compatible. So, I fear your options are slim.
This is super frustrating. After all, you spent $1,428 on the DJI Avata Pro-View Combo with DJI RC Motion 2, and you can’t even practice with it through an app that was initially highly-touted when the DJI Avata first launched in August 2022. So, before I dive into my suggestions for what to do, let’s give readers a bit of history:
What is the DJI RC Motion 2?
The DJI RC Motion is a unique type of joystick controller designed to go with the DJI Avata, which is a Cinewhoop-style FPV drone. Unlike the Nintendo-style controllers of most drones, this one is a device that you typically hold in just one hand resembling a blaster gun. As you wave it around, the drone moves in tandem.
While neat, it had some issues. In March 2023, DJI updated many of the problems with the original Motion Controller with the launch of what was called the DJI RC Motion 2, which is now what is marketed today to accompany the DJI Avata drone.
An upgraded joystick and accelerator now offers a reverse function, which better gives you power to dictate multidirectional flight, including vertical, backward, and sideways — and is also helpful in quickly adjusting the direction or choosing a spot to land. This controller also features an Fn dial that lets users quickly adjust the camera’s ISO, shutter, and other parameters without having to interact with the goggles.
The new DJI RC Motion 2 is generally considered a far superior product to the original DJI Motion Controller. So much so that DJI has phased out even making the original, and you won’t be able to buy one directly from DJI.
But there is one area where the original DJI Motion Controller was better than the DJI RC Motion 2, and that’s compatibility with a DJI-made virtual flight app.
The now (seemingly dormant) DJI Virtual Flight app
DJI created a free flight simulator app called the DJI Fly app back in 2021 to accompany the launch of another FPV drone, the DJI FPV. It was then carried over for use with the initial Avata controller.
And through it, the app offered a fairly-realistic flying experience, coupled with detailed tutorials on how to operate the drone. Through it, you could pair your controller with an Apple or Android smartphone to simulate flying in an otherwise risk-free environment. You could also use it to experiment with various settings before using them in real life.
But not only has DJI stopped producing the DJI RC, it appears to have given up any focus on maintaining the app. The last time this app got an update in the Apple App Store was more than six months ago in September 2022.
For what it’s worth, the app never really got great reviews. People said the feedback of the controllers were laggier than what they are in real life. The app would often freeze. Switching modes was difficult and sometimes impossible.
It seems that perhaps DJI has given up on fixing it (at least for now) though there are no clear plans to pick it back up.
Your options for practicing with the DJI RC Motion 2 Controller
So with that, here are some options for you:
Buy another controller that is compatible (not recommended)
If you’re really set on using the DJI Virtual Flight app, you’ll have to turn to another one of the Virtual Flight compatible devices. The DJI Virtual Flight app is compatible with:
- DJI FPV Goggles V2
- DJI FPV Remote Controller 2
- DJI FPV Motion Controller
Of course, this means shelling out more money than you already paid. It also might be hard to track down some of these items like the original Motion Controller, though you might find them on shelves that haven’t sold out yet or you might get a deep discount by buying them used (just understand the risks of buying used drones). At press time, it’s available on Amazon at a 30% discount from its original $200 price.
Use a different simulator
There are other non-DJI simulators that you could experiment with. While I love simulators like the Drone Racing League’s DRL SIM (which costs $9.99) it’s not designed in the style of the Motion Controller but rather a more traditional drone RC, so it might not turn out to be all that helpful to you. But, it’s certainly fun and gamified — especially if your goal is to simulate FPV drone racing. It’s also great to help complete newbies learn the basics.
If you’re looking for a drone simulator designed to improve pilot skills for professional applications, go for the Zephyr drone simulator. Zephyr has arguably the best, most realistic flight models you’ll find in a simulator, with each drone having its own unique and accurate physics. It offers both FPV and VLOS flying modes, with additional options to set your own controller/transmitter inputs to your desired configuration and calibration.
Related read: 5 tips to master drone simulator racing
Bite the bullet and just fly now!
And that brings me to my next piece of advice, and that is to simply fly your Avata drone with your RC Motion 2 Controller out in the real world. Yes, without having practiced first!
For starters, there are many built in safety features that are ideal for new pilots. The motion controller’s Emergency Brake button lets you stop immediately simply by tapping one button. And with support for RTH, you get added protection when the battery is low or signal drops out.
While it’s not completely crash-proof, there’s downward binocular vision and ToF infrared sensing, which detect obstacles below.
For what it’s worth, the controller — albeit a bit different for people used to the traditional DJI controllers — is actually very intuitive after a few minutes for most people.
My best advice is to simply take the drone someplace safe, low-risk and protected where you can practice in, say, a fenced in backyard with no other people around aside from a spotter.
And if you are flying inside, there’s a built-in propeller guard both to protect the drone and the walls where you might inevitably crash into.