How High Can a Drone Fly?

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Last updatedLast updated: April 10, 2021

Piloting a drone is a fabulous experience, something becoming more and more common among the youths and adults. It becomes much more attractive and exciting when the drone has a camera. The photographs, panoramas and wide-angle images produced by drones are a real fever in social networks, an example of the boom that this fun product has had in our society. There are mainly two types of drones: drones that are flown for leisure and that do not exceed 250 grams and drones that do exceed that weight and can be flown professionally. Irrespective of type of drone that you fly, it is important to know how high a drone can fly so that you stay within the safe zone when you fly and ensure the safety of your gadget. In this article, we will consider the rules and regulations guiding the use of drones, world record for highest drone flown, tips for flying at high altitudes and frequently asked questions regarding drone flying altitude.

Rules and Regulations Guiding Flying Drones

How High Can a Drone Fly?

To avoid damage to lives, properties and the aviation industry, there is a limit to which drones can fly, this most times is set by a national authority and supplemented by a regional or state authority. However, these rules apply mainly to civilian drones not drones used for military purposes which on the other hand are guided by a different set of rules. In the United states, the Regulation and norms for the use of drones are prescribed by the U.S. national aviation authority, the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). However, states have the ability to issue their own regulations regarding drones, so it is recommended to do a little research on state regulations before flying a drone. You can check the state laws here, we will touch on the federal regulations in this article.

Drones are classified by the purpose for which it is flown – drowns flown for entertainment and those flown for professional purposes. The regulations of drones flown for entertainment in the United States include:

  1. Do not fly close to other airplanes or an airport
  2. Fly at a maximum height of 400 feet
  3. Your drone should never be out of sight
  4. Never fly while drunk or after using drugs
  5. Ensure you fly in an area free of obstacles
  6. Do not fly over a group of people, a sporting event or a stadium.
  7. Do not fly your drone in case of an emergency, e.g. a fire outbreak or a natural disaster.
  8. You must fly a drone less than 24.9kg.
  9. Your drone must be registered with the FAADroneZone.

The regulations of drones flown for professional purposes include:

  1. Register your drone with the FAADroneZone.
  2. You must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly a drone commercially.
  3. You must fly at a maximum height of 400 feet and a maximum speed of 100mph.
  4. Always fly your drone within the line of sight.
  5. You must fly a drone less than 24.9kg.
  6. Never fly while drunk or after using drugs
  7. Ensure you fly in an area free of obstacles
  8. Do not fly over a group of people, a sporting event or a stadium.
  9. Do not fly your drone in case of an emergency, e.g. a fire outbreak or a natural disaster.
  10. Do not fly close to other airplanes or an airport

World Record of Highest Height for Drone Flying

Though the regulatory limit for flying a drone is set at 400 feet, the world record for flying a drone is set at 11,000 feet.
The record is held by a European drone lobbyist who flew a DJI phantom to. For this feat to have been attained, some software restrictions were most likely disabled and it took about three and half minutes to attain this height although it drew criticisms from a number of drone experts. This is a rather dangerous altitude for flying, because planes fly at this altitude and a loss of signal or running out of battery at this altitude will lead to loss of control of the drone by the pilot, this may lead to the drone crashing into a property or killing a person as a result.

Safety Tips for Flying at High Altitudes

Though the safety limit for your drone is at 400feet, if for some reasons you decided you want to capture beautiful panoramic shots from the sky, the following are a few things to consider before taking your drone to great heights.

You must have extensive flying experience

It’ll be unwise for new drone pilots to fly at a height beyond the regulatory limits. This is because their relative inexperience can lead to disastrous consequences not only for their gadget, it can also lead to accidents if there is a collision with a manned air vehicle.

Always check the battery level before flying

How High Can a Drone Fly?

To fly at a high altitude, you need a well charged gadget to ensure that your drone will land before it reaches a critically low voltage. If the drone is still flying when the battery reaches a critically high low voltage, it stops to fly forwards and it autolands at its current height. This can cause human accidents if the drone is flying over humans or it may crash into someone else’s properties.

Be prepared for high winds as you climb

When you fly at high altitudes, the air becomes thinner. The drone is propelled by propellers that use the density of air to push that air downward. Air density decreases very gradually as the altitude increases. It becomes windier and your expertise at controlling a drone in a windy environment have to come in play to successfully pilot your drone in these circumstances.

Try to avoid areas where any building exists

Do not fly your drone at high altitude over areas where buildings exist to avoid crashing into other people’s properties in case there is a crash.

Don’t fly near airports

Flying above 400m means you are flying in the space of other aircrafts, it is therefore better that this is not done close to an airport to avoid the possibility of a collision with an aircraft that is trying to land or fly and you don’t get into any issue with regulatory authorities.


How high can a Phantom 4 drone fly?

There are two factors that limit the height to which drones fly – these are the drone technical capacity and the regulations of the country and the state in which it is flown. Most times, the technical capacity of the drone to fly goes far beyond the limit of safety that is placed on it by regulating bodies. Some of these technical properties that enables a drone to fly includes: the build of the drone (a lightweight drone is more powerful than heavy build – it attains and maintain high altitudes in a very short time). Drones controlled with wi-fi can attain higher altitudes than those controlled by transmitters. DJI 4 have a maximum flight altitude of (19600ft) 6000m where there is no satellite coverage but the laws of the United States today do not allow any drone to fly at this altitude. Our team of drone experts recommend Phantom 4 drone which is a cost effective and light weight drone option that serves all purposes. It is enhanced with Artificial intelligence, which enables it to avoid obstacles automatically and track moving subjects.

How high can a Sky Viper drone fly?

A sky viper drone has a transmitter that enables it travel as far as 200ft. Thought Its capacity is nowhere near that of a phantom 4 drone, its height is ideal for wedding drone photography and movie shots. You can check a comprehensive list of best drones for wedding photography here. Our team of experts recommend sky viper drone as an affordable drone option that serves your leisure and professional purposes.

What does a drone see from 400 feet?

A height of 400 feet is good enough for a drone to visualize real estate construction site, residential or industrial real estate. It is ideal for showing off large properties in commercial real estate. It provides a good overview but does not give sufficient detail of the captured objects because of the height.


This article has laid bare a fact – the fact to which drones attain during flights depends on two requirements – their technical capacity and the regulations guiding their use. While the technical capacity allows them to travel as high as 19,000ft, the laws guiding them to ensure the safety of the airspace and people over which it is flown restrict it only to about 4000ft in the united states and 5,000 feet in Europe. It is important for drown pilots to remain compliant with these laws until there is a modification in the future, as you do not want to run the risk of running into litigations with regulatory agencies because of your sport or your professional aspirations.

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