Drone Range: Everything You Need to Know!

If you are planning to buy a drone, it's only right that you have an idea of what a drone range is. Not to worry, we have got you covered with all the details in this article. Enjoy!
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Last updatedLast updated: December 01, 2023
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Drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, unpiloted aircraft, or spacecraft) have become a welcomed technological development in today’s world for obvious reasons. If you have seen a drone fly, you will agree that the sight is a beauty to behold. Having said that, drones bring a lot more to the table. So, it comes as no surprise that you want to buy one. However, before you decide to buy a drone, you should know about the flight range of each drone.

You see, all drones have headless modes but different flight ranges. Hence, it’s important you know about drone range, as it will help you choose the ideal drone for a specific purpose. For instance, most toy drones have a range of around 20 to 100 yards, while mid-level consumer drones have a range of around 400m to 3km (0.25 to 1.5 miles). In most cases, high-end consumer drones have a range of around 4 to 8 km (2.5 to 4.5 miles). This is because the range of any drone is dependent on the controller signal strength and transmitting technology type.

Controller Range

Drone Range: Everything You Need to Know!

As you can already guess, the controller is fully involved. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. When it comes to drones, the one size fits all approach doesn’t apply. Because drones come in different shapes and sizes, serving different purposes. For this reason, the controller range varies. This leads to us the definition of a controller range.

What is it?

In simple words, a controller range is how far a drone can go away from its controller without losing signal or contact. For instance, a toy drone or drone under 150 can’t go far away from its controller without losing contact.

One of the best ways to determine which drone has a lower or higher controller range is by looking at their prices. The higher the price of a drone, the greater the strength of its controller. For example, a mid-level consumer drone gives you more controller range.

Based on the present market price, a drone worth between $150 to $500 would likely come with a range of about 0.25 miles (400m) to 1.5 miles (3km). This means your drone won’t lose signal when you’re controlling it within this distance.

However, if you want spectacular long-range capabilities, go for a high-end drone. As they say, “if you want the best quality, you should be prepared to pay the price.” This applies powerfully to drones. In this case, for $800 to $1,500, you will get a drone that can still maintain a signal to its controller when it’s between 2.5 miles (4km) and 5 miles (8km) away.

Put simply, when it comes to drones, if you dig deep into your pocket, you will get a drone with a mind-blowing range.

What Is the Max Drone Range?

Presently, there are drones that can fly as far as 18km (11 miles). But like we stated earlier, the greater the range, the higher the price.

Visual Line of Sight Limitation

It is worth noting that even if your drone can still maintain contact with the controller at a distance of 5 miles, the chances of you having a clear view of its movement to know if it is still following your controls appropriately are very slim. This is what we refer to as the Visual Line of Sight Limitation.

But does it matter that you can’t clearly see your drone when it’s still within range? For safety purposes, ensure you see your drone clearly (within your visual line of sight). The thing is if you can’t see your drone clearly or you’ve lost sight of it completely, you can’t tell if it is about to crash into someone or something. You see, once a drone is out of control, it can be a danger to itself and the people, vehicles, or buildings around it.

This is why the drone safety operation guidelines of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearly state that you must ensure your drone remains within your visual line of sight while controlling it. If you have registered with FAA, you should know this better than most.

That being said, you should also know that getting a good view of your drone depends on the presence or absence of nearby obstacles, terrains, and air conditions.

Basically, if there are no hindrances or obstacles, you should be able to see your flying drone for about 0.3 miles (1,500km) to 0.4 miles (2,000km). This means once your drone reaches about half a mile, your view of it will become less clear.

As a matter of fact, anyone can easily mistake your drone for a bird once it gets to this distance or beyond it. So, to prevent any unwanted incident or accident, make sure your drone is within your visual line of sight.

How Are Long-range Drones Used?

Remember, we stated earlier those drones serve different purposes. Here, we will be showing you the use of long-range Trusted Source Commercial drones could require direct human oversight for years, FAA says | Drones (non-military) | The Guardian Companies are pushing for the ability to fly their drones without the strict supervision that is currently required, but regulators say it could be a long wait. www.theguardian.com drones. First, it is worth noting that long-range drones are designed to fly for about 3 to 4 miles away from the operator and controller. They are useful in many industries. But in this article, we will be focusing on these industries:

  • Mapping
  • Agriculture
  • Security
  • Delivery
  • Tourism

Mapping

Drone Range: Everything You Need to Know!

Long-range drones can easily be used for mapping because they give good coverage of a vast amount of land. They are most effective when they travel beyond the visual range of the operator. These drones make it easy to gather data required to create make extensively detailed and even 3D maps, as they can cover a large area.

Agriculture

A long-range drone is an ideal tool for a farmer who wants to scout a field, as it can travel the whole field. It is much easier for a drone to cover the entire field without being within the visual line of sight of the operator when there is a pre-planned flight path.

The essence of the long battery flight time should not be downplayed, as it helps the drone to cover the entire field at a go. After which, it will return to its starting point.

Security

Long-range drones serve as perimeter security at commercial warehouses, prisons, and construction sites. When these drones are used in this way, there is a high possibility that they have to leave the visual line of sight of the operator to cover the whole perimeter. These drones come in handy when public safety agencies are on rescue missions, performing a search, or tracking suspects since they can travel beyond their takeoff point.

Delivery

Drones used for delivery Trusted Source NHS using drones to deliver coronavirus kit between hospitals | Drones (non-military) | The Guardian Trials in Essex using GPS-enabled remote-controlled aircraft to carry blood tests and PPE. www.theguardian.com must be able to cover a long distance. Put simply, and long-range drones are ideal for deliveries. They make delivery more convenient, as they can easily be directed to the various destinations from the delivery truck or warehouse. Automated flight planning basically eliminates any need for the drone to remain within the operator’s visual line of sight.

Tourism

Drone Range: Everything You Need to Know!

Besides serving as a tool in the hands of professionals, drones can also be used for tourism. You can use a drone to see a large area at once without leaving where you stand. The aerial view from a drone is second to none.

According to expert reviews, the ideal drone must be stable when hovering in the air. And Tomzon D25 fits the bill, thanks to its optical flow positioning feature.

Additionally, based on expert reviews, a drone must follow the directions of the controller appropriately. Based on this, DEERC drone is a good fit, as it has comes with a gravity control feature.

What Happens if a Drone Gets Out of Range?

Most consumers have 2 different ranges: the video signal range and the controller range. The controller range operates on a 2.4Ghz range and can go further than the video signal range, which operates at the 5.8Ghz range. This means that you will lose your video feed way before the drone loses connection with the controller.

At the point when you lose your video feed, the images on your screen suddenly start to stutter, and, in no time, it fails. Although this seems like a panic situation, you shouldn’t panic.

The reasons being, you still have full control of your drone and can fly it in the direction you wish. However, you won’t be able to get a video feed displaying what is close to your drone. This means that the drone is gradually exceeding your visual line of sight.

Since you can still control it fully, you can manually bring your drone closer or touch the home button. Once you do this, the video feed will slowly come up on your screen until it becomes clear.

When your drone exceeds its video signal, you can be sure that there’s no cause for alarm. However, if it exceeds its controller range, here are few things that could happen to your drone:

  • Your drone could crash into someone or something
  • Your drone could keep flying away
  • Your drone could land wherever it finds itself
  • Your drone could stop and keep hovering in mid-air
  • Your drone could automatically return to its starting point

These are different possibilities for your drone.  But it is best you don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to get a first-hand experience of what actually happens when a drone exceeds the controller range. So, ensure you keep it within an operating range.

How to Increase Your Drone’s Range?

If you are hell-bent on improving the present range of your drone so that it flies farther than it normally would or overcome any interference within its location, here are 3 solutions you should try:

  1. Invest in a range extender. You don’t need to spend excessively to make this happen
  2. Attach an antenna extender and/or an enhanced antenna to your controller. Additionally, attach an effective receiver to your drone
  3. Ensure your drone’s firmware settings are set to FCC limits

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, before you buy any drone, you should ensure you know the drone range. This will help you choose the perfect fit for the purpose you have planned. Fortunately, in this article, we have shared all you need to know about drone range. All you have to do is use what we have shared with you to guide your buying decision. In addition, when you’re using your drone, ensure you don’t allow it to exceed the controller range, as it can be dangerous to itself and the buildings or people within its location.

References

1.
Commercial drones could require direct human oversight for years, FAA says | Drones (non-military) | The Guardian
Companies are pushing for the ability to fly their drones without the strict supervision that is currently required, but regulators say it could be a long wait.
2.
NHS using drones to deliver coronavirus kit between hospitals | Drones (non-military) | The Guardian
Trials in Essex using GPS-enabled remote-controlled aircraft to carry blood tests and PPE.
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