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Drone Range: Find out How Far Can a Drone Fly?

By: Propel RC
Updated On: September 23, 2021

How far can a drone fly from its controller? Well, it depends on the model of the drone, how the model is configured, and how far you are willing to fly it. Drone range can be measured by the maximum distance a drone can fly horizontally from its controller before losing connection.

Generally, drone range is dependent on how much lift it has and how heavy it is and what weather conditions there are (if any), such as wind speeds. Drones come with different battery capacities, which decides how far they can go in the air.

For example, DJI Phantom 3 Standard comes with a lightweight carbon fibre frame and an intelligent battery that gives roughly 25 minutes of flight time. If you want to use your drone for commercial purposes then you must consider how far can your drone fly from its controller while purchasing.

A toy drone will generally have around 100 feet of range.

Small Drones can have anywhere from 700 to 1,300 feet of range.

Medium drones can have up to 3.1 miles or 5 kilometres.

High-end drones can be programmed with GPS capabilities allowing them to more accurately stay within the set boundaries set by the controller.

The most expensive drones are able to fly between 37 and 55 thousand feet.

Different drones come with different ranges and belong to different budget lines. Drones from DJI, such as the Mavic Pro, Inspire 2, and Phantom 4, can transmit live video up to 4.3 miles (7 km) away. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom have extended the maximum distance at which videos may be transmitted to 5 miles (8 km).

Whereas the lightweight drones from brands line Eachine can transmit the video only up to a distance of a few hundred feet. For example, Eachine E56, a compact and lightweight drone, has a transmission range of just about 300 feet or 100 meters.

The range of the drone entirely depends upon the brand and the model that you choose to buy. Drones with different ranges have many other features that will help you fly the drone more easily, such as Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, Return To Home and Low Voltage Protection, etc.

If you wanted to use your drone for aerial photography or videography, you would need a long-range drone to get the shot you needed without losing your signal and potentially crashing the drone. The most common reason people lose connection with their drones is that they are flying too far away from them.

Also Read: Is DJI Care Refresh Worth it?

Factors That Affect Drone Range

How Far Can a Drone Fly

A few factors that affect the range of a drone are:

  • Type of terrain or air space you're flying in.
  • The weather conditions such as wind speed and direction and the presence of clouds.
  • The quality and power of your signal receiver.
  • The type of battery that your drone has installed or is programmed to use.
  • The quality of the materials used in drone production affects how much lift your drone receives while it's flying.

How long a drone can fly depends on how much load its carrying. It means that if you're flying in harsh weather conditions or flying too far from the controller, it could affect how well your drone performs. In some extreme cases, it could stop the drone from being able to come back.

How long a drone can stay in the air will also depend on how much money you've spent on your particular model. Generally, more expensive drones will be capable of travelling longer distances than cheaper ones, but there are certain exceptions in both cases.

How to Extend Your Drone's Flight Range?

How Far Can a Drone Fly

The easiest thing that you can do to increase your drone range is to fly in clear areas with minimum obstacles; sometimes, even a few obstacles in between the controller and the drone can disturb the video feed. Also, when using a drone for mapping or surveying purposes, do not fly it in an area with lots of obstacles because the data may get transferred unreliable and blurry.

You should also keep your drone's battery up to date and monitor its speed and usage carefully. If you see that you need more range than what your current device is providing, you can always update your drone's battery to a better one that has more capacity and holds the charge for longer.

Range extenders are available in the market if you want to fly the drone far from its range, it is not a big investment, but it will help you a lot if you have a short-range drone. You can also fly your drone in large open areas because it will help you connect with the drone even at a further distance.

You can buy an antenna extender if your drone does not have a built-in range extender. These antennas come with a battery and can maintain a stable video feed for a longer time, depending on the quality of the antenna you buy.

What to Do When Your Drone Goes Too Far Away?

There is nothing much to worry about in this case because long before you lose control of the drone, you will lose the video feed. This will be the signal to bring our drone back home. New age drones come with a Back home feature, which can be activated by clicking one button on the controller. It will automatically bring the drone back to the point from which it was launched and land there.

How Far Can a Drone Fly

If your connection with your drone gets interrupted, try to change its position or orientation because sometimes moving the controller can help in getting a better connection with your drone as objects and other things can block video and transmission signals.

If your drone falls out of range, you will soon hear a warning sound from your controller, which will tell you that the drone is lost. The warning will get louder and other lights on the drone controller will start to flash, which will tell you that your drone is out of range.

If your drone is still flying when it goes too far, try getting it back home immediately because if the battery runs out completely while drones are flying, they fall from the sky and break or damage themselves.

Most drones will stop and hold in mid-air and start hovering so that you can move towards the drone and find it or come in contact with it. Many drones automatically land wherever they are once you lose control of them. Hence, the modern age drones are pretty safe to fly and very easy to operate.

What kind of Battery Does the Drone Use in 2021?

The battery is one of the most important components of a drone. Short battery life and connection range can be attributed to a weak battery. Battery capacity in terms of mAh (milliampere-hour) determines how long the device will stay in the air, or put differently, how long it takes for the device to deplete its energy source. The following are just some of the most common types of batteries used in drones today in 2021.

How Far Can a Drone Fly

Lithium Polymer (LiPo) Batteries:

The most common battery type found in affordable drones is Lithium Polymer. These come with rechargeable cells that can be recharged through a USB port or power supply. This kind of battery has the highest energy density, which means storing more energy in a given volume or mass.

Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries:

The second most popular battery type is NiCd which consists of nickel, cadmium and an alkaline solution. These are recyclable, but you will typically find them in drones that cost more than $300 and up. They come with a memory effect, meaning that their capacity will decrease if charged before they are completely depleted.

Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries:

These batteries consist of nickel and metal hydrides such as hydrogen or sodium-potassium alloy. Although NiMH has a higher energy density than NiCd, it is less resilient to the memory effect.

LiFePo4 Batteries: 

These are also referred to as Lithium-ion ferrous phosphate and have a lower energy density than other types of batteries, but they can last longer and boast a high number of recharge cycles. Because they contain iron, you should look for ones that are not susceptible to degradation under humid conditions.

Lithium-ion (LiIon) Batteries:

Mainly used in smartphones, LiIon is commonly found in higher-end hobby drones, particularly those designed for professional aerial photography or videography. Since they are rechargeable, this means that your drone can fly several times on a single charge.

Uses of Drones in Different Fields

Different fields need different types of drones, according to the need and the applications. The basic purpose of a drone is to take aerial footage and photos. In fields where drones are used for business purposes, drone range matters a lot because those industries often depend on how durable and stable a connection you have with the drone. There are few prominent fields of drone application, such as,

Aerial Photography

Drones used in aerial photography must have a high transmission range because the drones are being used in large open spaces with no obstacles. You would need to fly your drone at least 300 feet away from you to get the shot you want. Any closer and your drone could risk a potential collision.

Mapping

When you are mapping or surveying an area, it's necessary that your drone can transmit the data back in real-time. A good transmission range helps to transmit the images back in real-time, making the job faster and more efficient.

Industrial Uses

Industries like the mining industry and construction industry have been using drones for different reasons; for example, the mining industry uses drones to check if any part of mine needs a mineral deposit or not. Hence in these industries, drones with very long transmission range and flight time are necessary.

Security and Surveillance

Drones can be used for security and surveillance applications, such as checking if a certain area is safe or not. Security drones should have a very stable and reliable connection with the controller to avoid any potential danger.

Conclusion

Now that you have all the knowledge about drones, its workings, and how it goes too far away, so the next time when you go to buy a drone for yourself, choose wisely. Make sure to check any drone's flight range, transmission range, and flight time before buying it.

If you want to know how far can a drone fly, you should buy the DJI Mavic Pro 2, which has a flight range of up to 10 km and can fly for up to 30 minutes in one charge. Considering all the points mentioned and explained above, you can easily find the best drone for your need.

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