How Far Can A Drone Fly
Aerial shots are no longer an expertise of wedding video editors. Now, our Instagram and Facebook feeds are filled with beautiful photos of white sandy beaches, mountain peaks, and other travel destinations at an angle that people often do not see while traveling.
There are even action shots. The availability of drones on the market and the high demand for them is a dream come true for amateur photographers.
While there are drones marketed to unprofessional photographers and videographers, it does not mean this amazing gadget is at all easy to use. The No. 1 question beginners should ask is how far can a drone fly as well as how long can they fly.
Of course, the answers to these questions are important for you to know because there are several factors affecting them. Once you understand all these factors, you will know how far you should let your drone fly up and back to you. If you wish to learn all about this, read on.
Computing for the distance or range of drones
You learned in physics that the distance traveled by a moving object is equivalent to its speed multiplied by time (Distance traveled = Speed x Time). But in measuring how far can a drone fly, you must take into account the battery, design, drone control, transmitter, and its other capabilities. In another words, the answer depends on all the following factors specified below.
Types of drones
There are two classes of drones: rotary and fixed-wing. Under rotary drones, there are four or five more types which are classified according to the number of propellers, size, range, and type of cameras.
A consumer rotary drone can usually fly for an average time of 15 minutes. On the other hand, drones with fixed wings can fly longer and farther than a multi-rotor. Some of them can even reach more than 200 mph.
Battery or fuel life
Small drones have small machines and tiny batteries. Those batteries are enough to power the spinning propellers of quadcopters and give it about 5 to 7 minutes of flight. And with that little amount of time, you cannot expect to go that far, even if the transmitter can go further.
In the same way, larger drones with large batteries such as 10,000 mAh can fly for 15 to 20 minutes. Aside from fuel, there are companies that have tested other resources like hydrogen and solar energy to extend the flight time and range.
These systems have extended the average time of the multi-rotor from minutes to hours. Hydrogen-powered drones get 4 hours while solar powered drones get up to 20 hours.
Drone control or radio link
The thing that connects you to your drone is called a controller, and like your television remote control, the function is the same. Drone controllers of quadcopters running on 2.4 GHz usually cover a range of 1 mile.
However, that still depends on the noise and other obstacles during transmission of signals. Expensive brands like the FrSky Taranis brand receiver can have a maximum range of 1,500 meters.
On the other hand, inexpensive brands like Turnigy 9X can only cover 500 meters. But you still have other options like the DSM2 technology which can fly up to 800-1,000 meters.
FPV range vs. longer range systems
An FPV range with 5.8 GHz is not ideal for flying longer distances because they start losing connection at 500 to 700 meters. This means that if your drone crashes, you have to walk that far to get it back.
However, you can opt to buy long-range FPV systems that offer 10 to 20 kilometers of range. They are applicable for aerial coverage of really large, open spaces. Thus, they are far more expensive than a regular FPV on the market.
Another problem with long-range systems is that they are not available in small units like quadcopters. You can find them in fixed-wing drones that contain large batteries. Long-range FPVs can only fly that much as long as they have enough power to so.
But since fixed-wing drones are planes, they can just glide back to you with less power requirement. This way, you can cut the power when it’s time to pack up. On the other hand, if you do this to a multi rotor, it will drop and crash.