How Far Can a Drone Fly?

How Far Can a Drone Fly?Photo by david henrichs

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What is the range of a drone? How far can a drone fly from the controller? Read on to learn everything you need to know here.

How far can a drone fly? It’s a lot farther than you might think!

The Coast Guard is now using drones to fly across the ocean and catch bad guys in the act. Coast Guard Captain, Chis Martino, estimates a 95% increase in their ability to catch and prosecute criminals, all thanks to drones.

While long-range drones are bad news for criminals, they’re great news for drone lovers. However, if you want to have a fun flight, you’ll need to understand how far your drone can go.

How far can a drone travel safely? Read on to find out!

How Far Can a Drone Fly?

How far can a drone fly? There’s a ton of different factors that determine the range of drones. First, you’ll need to take into account the size of the drone.

Large drones are going to drain their batteries faster than small drones. Even if a large drone has a long-distance range, without a long-lasting battery, there will be limitations.

Another factor that affects how far a drone can fly is the type of drone you’re using. If you buy a simple toy drone for backyard use, it’s range will be short. However, if you buy a drone made for long-range flying, you could be looking at miles of fly time.

Typically, the more expensive the drone, the more likely it’ll be able to go farther. For instance, high-quality drones like the ones at will have better flight ranges than cheaper models.

Long Range Drones and Crowds

To safely fly long distances, you’ll need to avoid flying over people. While it may be tempting to fly over a crowd to capture the perfect shot with a camera drone, it’s never a good idea. Whether it’s a single person or a large group, you should never fly your drone over people’s heads.

To avoid flying over people, you’ll want to avoid taking your drone on long-distance flights where groups gather. For instance, live events, stadiums, and parking lots are unsafe areas to operate your long-range drone.

You should also avoid operating your drone when it’s dark outside. When it’s dark outside, the chances of you accidentally hurting someone or something are much greater. That’s why whether it’s pre-sunrise darkness or the sun just set, your drone should stay on the ground.

Laws About Long-Distance Drones

Today, the laws surrounding operating drones are still evolving. Certain regulations say that you’re legally allowed to fly your drone within sight. However, other regulations give remote pilots the clearance to fly out of sight, but within a set distance.

To avoid flying too far, and facing legal consequences, you’ll want to be aware of the latest drone laws. First, we suggest that you check out the recreational flyers regulations put out by the FAA.

You’ll notice that law requires you to keep your drone at 400 feet or less above the ground when you’re in uncontrolled airspace. The FAA also requires recreational drone pilots to keep the drone within visual sight.

Next, you’ll want to explore your state’s specific laws about how far you’re legally able to fly your drone. It may be possible that you’ll be able to extend your drone’s legal flight abilities by obtaining certain pilot’s licenses.

Increasing the Range of Your Drone

Are you looking for ways to make it possible to fly your drone farther? If so, you’ll need to look into increasing the range of your radio controller.

You can start by looking into adjusting your controller’s frequency. By setting your controller at a lower frequency range, it’ll be easier for you to travel much farther than before. Radio waves that are at a lower frequency will have a long-range, even when the signal isn’t strong.

You can also try upgrading your controller’s antenna to give you more range. Consider upgrading your antenna to a standard or advanced long-range antenna.

Finally, another way to increase the range of your drone is to add a power booster. The power booster is an add-on you can install in your drone’s controller. If you upgrade the antenna and install a power booster, the results are incredible.

Large Propellers Are Battery-Friendly

You can also look into altering the size of your drone’s propellers. Small propellers are great for flying at fast speeds. However, they don’t provide the drone with a lot of life.

Instead, when you use a small propeller, the drone’s battery does most of the heavy lifting. If you want your battery to last longer, you can look into installing larger propellers. The larger size will help give the drone the lift it needs without draining your battery.

How a Controllers’ Position Affects Range

How far can a drone fly when there’s an object in your way? It all depends on the position of your controller.

The position of your controller, in relation to the drone, will affect the range of your drone. To understand how the controllers’ position affects flight range, it helps to know how the communication link works.

First, the transmitter sends a signal that the receiver interprets, giving you the ability to control your drone. From the transmitter to the receiver, there’s an ellipsoid shaped communication zone.

Any obstacles within the communication zone will decrease the strength of your signal. If obstacles are in the direct line of sight between the receiver and transmitter, the interference will be even greater. If you want your drone to have the furthest range possible, you’ll need to keep the communication zone clear of any obstacles.

For instance, let’s say that you’re flying your drone over your house. There may be a large tree branch that’s reaching out and blocking your line of sight.

Even if the tree branch is only partially blocking your view, the signal will begin to deteriorate. To strengthen the signal, reposition your body so there’s no longer an object between the controller and the drone. Once you reposition the controller, the signal will strengthen, and the drone will have full-range capabilities again.

Dealing With an Out-Of-Range Drone

What do you do when a drone’s out of range? When a drone is completely out of range, there’s no longer a signal between the transmitter and receiver. In other words, you’ll have no ability to move the drone using the controls.

Old or Cheap Drone Models

If you’re using an outdated drone or a simple toy drone, you’re probably not going to be able to retrieve the lost drone. Instead, it’s more likely that once out of range, the drone will fall from the sky.

Another possibility is that once it loses the signal, your drone will crash into an object. Unfortunately, old drones and cheap drones just don’t have the technology necessary to keep them safe once they’re out of range.

New and Advanced Drone Models

Anyone operating a new or advanced drone model that goes out of range will be in luck! New models won’t crash into objects or fall from the sky the moment they’re out of range. Instead, the drone will have fail-safe features to keep it safe.

Drones That Have GPS

Another advantage of having a new drone is that it’s likely to have GPS capabilities. When drones have GPS, they’ll store a home position in their memory. What exactly does this mean for you as a drone pilot?

If a GPS-enabled drone flies out of range, it isn’t lost forever. Instead, the moment the drone loses the wi-fi signal of the controller, the drone pilot will receive an alert. The alert can come to the controls, to a smartphone, or a tablet.

At the same time the alert is going out, the drone will also be adjusting its course. Using the GPS, the drone will work to retrace its flight path until it can find the signal again. After the drone finds the signal, you can continue flying it without any problems.

However, in certain cases, the drone won’t be able to find the controller’s wi-fi signal. When the drone doesn’t return on its own, you can activate the return-to-home feature. Usually, the return-to-home feature, or RTH, is on the drone’s controller.

Once you activate the RTH feature, the drone will use its memory to return to where it last took off from. If your drone doesn’t have the battery power to return to you, you’ll still have a chance at recovering it. Using the drone’s GPS location or video feed, you can try to retrieve the drone yourself.

Flight Time Affects Range

Let’s say you buy a drone specifically made to go long distances. You’ll have all of the features you need to safely fly your drone far away, without having to worry about losing it forever. However, long-distance capabilities aren’t enough on their own. You’ll also need to account for your drone’s flight time.

The flight time is the amount of time you’re able to keep your drone in the air. While the features of your drone model can improve flight time, there are also things you can do to help out.

Here’s a list of ways to improve your drone’s flight time:

  • Fly in the right weather
  • Fly conservatively
  • Reduce the drone’s weight
  • Change propeller sizes
  • Upgrade your battery
  • Charge battery before flight
  • Take good care of your battery

For starters, it’s always a bad idea to fly in rain, snow, or windy weather. Instead, you’ll want to only take your long-range drone out in optimal weather conditions.

You should also know that a lot of drones aren’t waterproof. Flying in the rain won’t only affect your range, it could also render your drone useless.

Next, to help your drone fly farther, practice conservative flying. Flying conservatively means you avoid aggressive maneuvers at full throttle, or using high speeds.

The battery will drain much faster if you don’t fly conservatively. Now, this isn’t to say that it’s never a good idea to fly at high speeds or use full throttle.

If you want to have fun making your drone perform tricks, or you’re showing off to friends, have at it! Just remember that you’ll want to change out the battery for a fresh one before a long-distance flight.

Lighter Drones Fly Farther

To make your long-range drone fly even farther, look into reducing its weight. For example, let’s say you buy a camera drone that can fly long distances. By temporarily removing the camera, you’ll be able to extend the drone’s range even more.

Of course, if you want to use the camera for your long-range flight, you won’t want to remove it. Instead, you should look to reduce the weight of the drone in other ways. For instance, you can remove any stickers or pieces that you don’t need the drone to have.

Experienced drone pilots have the added option of removing the drone’s prop guards. The prop guards are in place to help keep your drone safe in the air. However, if you feel confident in your flying abilities, you can remove the prop guards to reduce the drone’s weight.

Prepare for Take-Off

How far can a drone fly? The answer depends on you and your drone. The type of drone you’re using, along with your flight techniques, will determine just how far you can fly.

What tips will you be using to help you get the farthest flight possible? We hope that our article will be able to guide you as you find the perfect solution to your long flight desires. For more articles on topics like these and much more, check out the rest of our site.


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