When you ask how far a drone can fly, there are actually three things that you want to know.
How high from the ground can a drone fly? How far can the drone travel, if measured in miles or kilometers, before it runs out of power? What distance can the drone travel away from you or the remote control?
It is essential to know these details before owning a drone for the purpose you intend it to.
Without further ado, let us go through the details below.
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Understanding How Far a Drone can Fly
There are few explanations concerning the questions above. But I would like to stress out the two ways to measure the range of a drone.
First, how far can a drone fly from its operator? And secondly, what is the maximum range that your drone can travel before it runs out of battery?
The range is based on having clear and open sightlines between the drone and the remote. So, if you are in a low-interference area, you will enjoy optimum connectivity.
Ground metals are often the source of signal interference. As a result, you will experience disturbance warnings before takeoff.
Suppose the drone approaches a range in the sky that is less than the recorded range of the device. In that case, signal interference can cause video lag and stuttering. Hence, foggy video output is a good indication that the signal is terrible in the area.
However, when flying a drone, you must obey and follow the legal line-of-sight rule regulated by most countries. This rule applies to keep your drone constantly visible to the naked eye, not flying out of your range.
Can You See a Small Drone Flying 6 Miles Away?
In our previous article, we discussed and answered the question, how long will a drone battery last? According to The Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.), small U.A.S. (Unmanned Aircraft Systems), like drones, are only permitted to fly at a maximum altitude of 400 feet. (1, 2)
Flying a drone over the F.A.A’s maximum height requirement brings airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft at risk of a collision. So make sure to restrict your flight to no more than 2000 feet above ground level. Or else you will be sanctioned.
In reality, the modern mid-and high-end class of drones can travel up to 18 kilometers, or more than 4 miles, before encountering a problem. That would be the safest distance that a top-rated model can go. You will surely experience technical and visual issues when forcing a drone to fly over its range. And the worst-case scenario is the drone will crash.
Although each drone is different here is a graphic just to give you a general idea of a few brands.
What To Do If The Drone Loses Connection
You also need to learn what to do if you lose control of the drone.
The only protection against this problem is to ensure that the equipment is in tip-top condition and that you operate it safely.
If you lose control of the drone, you may follow the user’s manual instructions regarding this matter, if there are any.
When a G.P.S. is set before takeoff, some drones have an automatic “Return Home” feature. Other drones have emergency stops that bring down the drone automatically. (3)
While these drones have unique features, some drones continue to run according to the last settings obtained from the controller until they drift out of sight.
You can retrieve a disconnected drone by scouting the nearby area. If you are near the drone and still have battery power left, you will re-establish the connection.
If you can’t still determine the cause of the failure of connections, please land the drone as soon as possible and conduct a diagnosis. Check, re-check, and double-check to ensure that it will be safe and sound when it returns to space.
How far can a drone fly away from you? The best drones can travel as far as 18 kilometers, while the F.A.A restricts the height to 400 feet. But we know that the drone’s flight potential is much more than this.
What was your experience flying your drone? Share them in the comment below.
(1) Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) – https://www.faa.gov/
(2) U.A.S. (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/unmanned-aircraft-system
(3) “Return Home” feature – https://store.dji.com/guides/return-to-home-rth-must-have-drone-feature/