How Far Can a Drone Fly?

February 28

How Far Can a Drone Fly?

Drone technology has evolved quickly. New developments in propeller design, signal transmitters, battery technology and construction methods have greatly expanded the range of commercial and consumer drones. As the platforms have gotten more advanced, pilots have found new ways to put the extended range to good use. Drones can now be found in some of the world’s most remote locations, providing support and data for a huge range of commercial applications. But these drones are only as good as their maximum range. So, if you’re wondering how far can a drone fly, we’ve put together some information that might help.

How Far Can a Drone Fly?

Modern commercial drones have a range of up to 15 kilometres, although some fixed-wing drones can operate at ranges of up to 100 kilometres. How far a drone can fly largely depends on its design, the technology involved and whether it has been upgraded with things like long-range antennas. So, how far can a drone fly? Let’s look at the average range on the main categories of commercial and recreational drones:

  • Commercial drones have a range of 10 to 15 kilometres
  • High-end consumer drones have ranges of up to 10 kilometres
  • Mid-range consumer drones have ranges of up to 3 kilometres
  • Recreational and toy drones may only have a range of 20 to 100 metres

These range estimates are based on the common multi-rotor design used by most drone manufacturers. If you need to fly further, commercial fixed-wing drones can be operated at distances of up to 100 kilometres. These long-range fixed-wing drones are ideal for commercial operations like mapping and surveying that often take place over large areas of terrain.

Environmental Considerations in How Far Can Drones Fly

Major drone manufacturers often provide clear information on the maximum range of their aircraft. While some drones are capable of operating at distances of up to 100 kilometres, those measurements assume the drone is being flown in ideal conditions. Drones operate best on clear days over flat ground where there is nothing to interfere with the signal between the aircraft and its controller. As soon as you introduce environmental factors, the range of your drone can drop significantly.
There are a few main factors that can shorten the range of your drone:

  • The weather, including cloud cover, wind direction and wind intensity
  • The strength of your signal receiver
  • The batteries in the drone and controller and their state of charge
  • The quality of the materials and motors used
  • The environment and whether features like trees or mountains are causing signal interference

While these factors usually aren’t a problem for recreational pilots, they can be a serious consideration for commercial operations. Especially if you’re performing a service like surveying or mapping, it’s important to pay attention to the environment and design the operation accordingly.

Flying a Drone Outside Your Line of Sight

Commercial drone platforms like the DJI Matrice 300RTK have the potential to be operated at incredible distances. As long as the weather is clear, you could easily find yourself piloting a drone that is outside your direct line of sight. That’s not a problem for commercial-grade drones, many of which offer video streaming that allows you to remain in control. The only challenge is that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) restricts the use of drones when they are operated Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).

Under CASA’s new Standard Operating Conditions, you are required to hold a current Remote Pilots Licence (RePL) and be operating under a Remote Operator’s Certificate(ReOC) with approval from CASA to fly BVLOS. That applies to both commercial and recreational pilots. Furthermore, CASA restricts the distance an aircraft can be flown to 80% of the manufacturer’s stated range, i.e. an aircraft with a manufacturer’s range of 10km can only be used up to 8km away.

Common Uses of Long Range Drones

Drones can fly further than ever before. That means they’ve found their way into some of the world’s most demanding and productive industries. Commercial drone operators now use long range drone platforms for:

  • Mapping. Long range commercial drones are often used to create maps and 3D models that support new construction, engineering, agriculture and mining projects.
  • Surveying. Surveying data is key to all construction and engineering projects. Long range drones support a huge range of surveying functions like mapping, thermal imaging, monitoring, measuring and more.
  • Agriculture. The scale of modern farms mean that long range drones are widely used in agriculture projects. Drones are ideal for monitoring crops, spraying treatments, planning projects and more.
  • Mining. Drones are the ideal tool for working in remote mine site locations. Mining companies commonly use long range drones for prospecting, stockpile management and equipment inspection.
  • Search and rescue. Long range drones are now being deployed in search and rescue operations where they are capable of traversing difficult terrain and disaster sites quickly and efficiently.
Find Out Exactly How Far Drones Can Fly with Advanced Aerial Solutions!

The incredible range of modern drone platforms makes them one of the world’s most versatile tools. Whether it’s for surveying, drone farm mappingagriculture drone spraying or mining work, long range drones are the perfect platform for commercial operators of all sizes. If you’re ready to find out how our drones can transform your business, get in touch with Advanced Aerial Solutions!

AAS is a drone service provider that offers drone mapping, thermal imaging, surveying, agriculture spraying and much more. Our fleet of drones includes some of the latest equipment from DJI, allowing us to fly further and capture powerful data for your business. To find out more about our drone services, or to enquire about our range of DJI drones, you can contact us online!

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