DJI CSC – The DEADLY command all drone owners need to know

When I first purchased my DJI drone, I was unaware of the DJI CSC (combination stick command); it may have cost me my drone a couple of times. The combination stick command can be very useful if you start up your drone manually or quickly power down it to ensure that it does not injure or cause harm to other people or property.

DJI CSC stands for combination stick command. It is a specific movement of joysticks where they are pulled downwards and to the middle or outer corners. It is to be used if the aircraft is out of control or a collision has occurred.

You have to hold the sticks in the same position for three seconds.

This amount of time may not seem like a long time but during a drone flight three seconds seems like a lifetime. So, if you have to hold the joysticks in this position slowly count to 3 before you decide it is not working.

It is important to note that stopping the motors midflight will cause the aircraft to crash. There is no doubt that this is a last-ditch effort to regain control of the drone in an emergency.

The motors should only be stopped midflight if all other options have been investigated and you cannot regain control of the aircraft after a collision, ascending or descending very quickly, rolling uncontrollably in the air, or if one of the motors has stalled.

The default setting can be changed in the DJI Fly app.

What is DJI CSC?

CSC command stands for Combination Stick Command. CSC is when both joysticks are pulled down fully and to the corners. The CSC is used to start the motors of a DJI drone and can also be used to stop the motors quickly in an emergency.

DJI emergency propeller stop

Starting and stopping the motors using CSC

Using the DJI emergency propeller stop feature is very simple and all it takes is learning how to send a command to the drone using only the joysticks.

Typically, with our drones, we utilise buttons and shortcuts on the app running on our smartphone or smart device to tell the drone what to do.

The drone can also take commands based on how the joysticks are held.

Using a combination stick command (CSC) you can start and stop the motors. Push both the sticks to the bottom inner or outer corners to start. The motors during mid-flight. Once the motors have started spinning or stopped, release both sticks simultaneously.

CSC in advanced safety settings

In the advanced safety settings of the DJI fly app, you will find the to enable the emergency propeller stop, which allows the users to stop the aircraft propellers directly in the event of an emergency.

In the advanced safety settings, you’ll also find options for changing how the aircraft acts when the remote controller signal is lost, and the ability to turn off Airsense in newer DJI models such as the DJI Mavic 3.

In the advanced settings you have options including:

  • Emergency only – this indicates that the motors can only be stopped midflight if an emergency situation occurs, such as a collision, stalled motor, rolling aircraft, or the aircraft is out of control and is ascending or descending very quickly.
  • Anytime – this indicates that the motors can be stopped midflight at any time once the user performs the combination stick command (CSC)

Make sure that you head to the advanced safety settings in the DJI fly app and set the CSC settings to “emergency only”. This setting means that the drone is unable to be turned off midflight unless there is an emergency and if you accidentally perform the CSC the drone will not turn off.

Inadvertently changing to “anytime” means that you may risk shutting off the motors without meaning to.

Why you may want to stop the motors midflight

Turning off your drone in the middle of the flight seems like suicide – because it is. You will cause damage to your drone if you allow it to freefall and there are some instances in which the drones will be destroyed completely.

However, using the combination stick command to stop the drone is in the best interest of safety if:

  • the drone is rapidly ascending or descending despite your commands
  • the drone is accelerating away from the intended direction
  • the drone is heading toward people
  • the drone quickly heads out of your line of sight
  • the drone is twisting, turning, and flipping in the air
  • you notice that the drone is drifting quickly to one side – indicating a faulty motor
  • you need to stop your drone from heading out over water despite trying to return.

Turning off your drone midflight is going to be one of the hardest decisions you can make as a drone pilot especially if you are flying one of the latest flagship models from DJI. There is a lot of money flying when you are flying a drone, but the safety of people should be a priority for any drone pilot.

Updated firmware has changed some CSC options

Because of the controversy around stopping your drone in midflight, DJI has allowed some of the drone models the ability to turn off CSC.

If you head to the advanced settings, you will be able to find the stop motor method on some drone models, and you can disable the CSC by setting it to “do not stop in the air”.

Keeping up-to-date with firmware releases is an important aspect of drone ownership. I suggest you head to your flight app and update the drone and remote control to the newest firmware release.

Also, it is important that your DJI fly app or DJI GO4 app is up-to-date to ensure that you get all of the best features out of your drone and that your drone stays as safe as possible.

Wrapping up

This article has covered everything you need to know about the combination stick command (CSC) and the best way to avoid inadvertently damaging your drone by turning the motors off midflight.

There are some specific times when you will need to shut off your drone to keep your drone safe and ensure that your drone does not become a hazard to other people or property.

Make sure that your firmware and DJI app are updated to the latest version to get access to all of the latest features available for your drone, including the ability to turn off the CSC.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones. His favourite is still the DJI Mavic Air for the portability and functionality packed into a small and portable drone!