It’s hard to put into words how satisfying it is to fly drones. Any drone.
Regardless if they are small, or large, GPS camera drones, or FPVs, there is nothing else quite like it, short of being an actual manned aircraft pilot.
As technology has advanced, camera drones have gotten smaller and smaller and more lightweight.
With the small size of sub-250g drones, comes the ability to get into tighter areas to film, all while flying below regulatory radars.
If you are flying a DJI Mini 2 SE in the United States recreationally, you will need a TRUST certificate. If you are planning to fly for commercial purposes, you will need a Part 107 Certificate (commonly referred to as a commercial drone license).
If flying a Mini 2 SE in other countries, it is advised to research those countries’ rules and regulations for sub-250g drones.
About the Mini 2 SE
The Mini 2 SE is the 6th mini drone offering from DJI to round out their Mini lineup. It is also, currently, DJIs least expensive drone.
The inexpensive price tag doesn’t mean that the Mini 2 SE is a cheap or extremely low-spec drone, as it is basically a slightly scaled-back Mini 2.
Using the same 1/2.3-inch CMOS camera as the Mini 2, the Mini 2 SE takes sharp 12MP photos.
The differences between the Mini 2 and the Mini 2 SE are found in the video department.
The Mini 2 SE can film video in 2.7k at 30 fps (frames per second), whereas the Mini 2 can do so in 4k at 30 fps.
If you are not concerned about 4k this and frames per second that, the Mini 2 SE is a fantastic drone, capable of taking quality photos and videos from areas larger drones might find difficult to reach.
Also, being such a small drone, the Mini 2 SE is the ideal size and weight for flying indoors.
One of the major draws of the Mini 2 SE, aside from its relatively inexpensive price tag, is that it only weighs 246g.
In the United States, this means it does not need to be registered to fly recreationally, and in other countries, the sub-250g weight has benefits as well.
Great Starter Drone
DJI Mini 2 SE
Lightweight and Foldable Mini Drone with 2.7K Video, 10km Video Transmission, 31-min Flight Time, Under 249 g, Return to Home, Automatic Pro Shoots, Drone with camera for Beginners.
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08/15/2023 04:06 am GMT
As mentioned, the Mini 2 SE weighs in at 246g.
This appeals to many because, in the United States, if using the Mini 2 SE for recreational purposes, it does not need to be registered.
However, the same doesn’t go for licensing or certifications.
As of June 2021, if you are planning on flying the Mini 2 SE in the United States, you will have to take and pass the TRUST (The Recreational UAS Safety Test) course and exam.
The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) is a no-cost mini-course of sorts and exam that covers FAA regulations for recreational drone operators in the United States, as well as general drone safety.
The TRUST course and exam cover much of the following:
- Knowing where it is permissible to fly your drone
- Understanding drone safety guidelines
- Basic airspace knowledge and FAA restrictions and abiding by these regulations
Regardless of a person’s age or drone weight (sub-250g), you are required to pass the TRUST exam and carry the TRUST certificate on your person, when flying recreationally in the United States.
Yes, that also means if you are visiting the United States from another country and plan to fly in the US, you must have a TRUST certificate.
If you are a Part 107 certified drone operator, and flying recreationally, there is no need to have a TRUST certificate on your person while flying recreationally, as being a certified drone operator validates your flying ability.
If you are flying for commercial purposes, you only need to have your Part 107 certificate on hand. More on this later.
Thankfully, the TRUST exam is online and very simple to pass, making it quite accessible.
According to the FAA website:
“You cannot fail the test. If you answer a question incorrectly you will be provided with information on why the answer you chose was incorrect and will be prompted to try again.”
Unlike the Part 107 FAA Small UAS Rule exam, the TRUST exam is not overly complicated, preparing you to be a professional drone operator.
Instead, the TRUST exam has been put in place to ensure recreational flyers and hobbyists are flying their drones safely.
When it comes to flying the Mini 2 SE for commercial purposes, there is quite a bit to know.
Although the Mini 2 SE has a lower image and video resolution than the more professional level consumer and prosumer drones, with its 12 MP, 2.7k 30fps camera, the Mini 2 SE may be useful in a pinch when filming large indoor facilities.
Part 107 certification
If you are planning to use the Mini 2 SE for any type of commercial work, whether this be for taking a quick snap of a property from a hundred feet up to post on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), snapping photos and taking video for your monetized YouTube channel, or using pictures or videos from the Mini 2 SE to further any business, you will need to be a licensed drone operator.
Licensed drone operators in the United States are referred to as Part 107 Certified.
This means you would need to fly your Mini 2 SE under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (Part 107) to be legally recognized as a commercial drone pilot and to avoid any subsequent fines for not being certified when doing commercial work.
Although the Mini 2 SE is indeed a tiny and lightweight camera drone, it does take capable photos and videos, so it could indeed be used for some commercial purposes or media.
Does the Mini 2 SE need to be registered?
This is the million-dollar question asked by so many individuals.
Recreational flyers & hobbyists
Simply put, because the Mini 2 SE is a sub-250g drone, in the United States it does not need to be registered in order to fly.
This is important to some as it means a Mini 2 SEs owner will not have their name or information located anywhere online.
As it stands, when a drone is licensed, the information is stored on the FAAs Dronezone website, so there is an electronic footprint.
For others, they don’t want to spend any additional money when it comes to their drone. When a drone is registered, it does have a cost associated with it. Some would like to avoid this altogether.
The good thing is if you’d like to register your Mini 2 SE for any reason, doing so is simple and cost-efficient.
Commercial drone pilots
Although the Mini 2 SE is a sub 250g drone, if you are going to use it for the furtherance of business or in a commercial capacity, it will need to be registered.
- All drones must be registered, except those that weigh 0.55 pounds or less (less than 250 grams) and are flown exclusively under the Exception for Recreational Flyers.
- Drones registered under part 107 may be flown for recreational purposes as well as under part 107.
- Drones registered under the Exception for Recreational Flyers cannot be flown for Part 107 operations.
Federal Aviation Authority (FAA)
With this language, every base is covered with drones that weigh less than 250g.
You either have to fly your Mini 2 SE as a recreational flyer, thus not needing to register it, or fly it as a Part 107 Certified Drone Operator, in which case it will need to be registered and additionally allowed to fly recreationally.
When it comes to flying commercially it is very cut and dry: the drone being used commercially will need to be registered, regardless.
Can you fly the Mini 2 SE anywhere?
“Flying anywhere” is such a broad term. We’ll take a closer look at areas of concern some may have when flying in the United States.
» MORE: Can You Fly a Drone in Town?
Can you fly the Mini 2 SE over people?
If you are flying a sub-250g drone, or Mini 2 SE in this case, in the United States, you are allowed to fly over people if the drone is a Category 1 drone and satisfies these conditions: it is under 250g and does not have exposed rotating parts.
That means if your Mini 2 SE is under 250g with propeller guards attached, then it is in compliance.
Sadly, it is difficult t find prop guards that are light enough to keep the Mini 2 SE in under 250g, thus pushing it out of compliance.
Additionally, in some States and Cities, you are not allowed to fly within a certain amount of feet of crowds exceeding a particular size, regardless of the category of the drone or what safety features it is equipped with.
There is some room for latitude regarding flights over people, as you are allowed to fly over individuals if they are participating in the operation of the drone (such as a visual observer or the person being filmed) or if individuals in the area are under the cover of an object that provides reasonable protection.
Can you fly the Mini 2 SE in controlled airspace?
The following comes directly from the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority):
“For flights near airports in controlled airspace, drone operators must receive an airspace authorization prior to operation…”
That applies to both Part 107 commercial drone operators and recreational flyers. Yes, you can fly in controlled airspace with your Mini 2 SE.
To fly legally in controlled airspace, you will need to request LAANC authorization (via your smartphone or home PC), have the request auto-approved with the authorization sent to you either via text or email, and then fly within the height restrictions of that authorized area’s height grid.
Can you fly the Mini 2 SE over people’s homes / private property?
From the FAA’s viewpoint, people do not own the air over their homes and properties – over reasonable usage, for expansion and building vertically.
However, there is an expectation of privacy when owning a home or land.
Because of this, in the United States, some states allow drone flights over people’s homes and properties, whereas other states forbid it.
In States where flying over homes is permissible, you are only allowed to do so if you are not hovering or taking photos and videos, or hovering while simultaneously taking photos or videos.
If flying over a home is allowed in your state, it is advised to make it quick if intending to fly to another location within the same area.