Wondering how far can I fly my drone from remote controller? We have the answer. Find out how far you can fly your drone from remote controller using your drone’s maximum distance. Learn more here.
By Drone’s Range’, we mean the distance the drone can fly from its controller while being able to maintain a visible signal.
Every drone model carries a specified flight range the manufacturer mentions in the product specification, while at times, it might not be the case in real-life situations.
However, the maker’s particulars about the drone’s range can give a rough idea on what to expect from the drone. However, while flying your drone, you must always ensure to comply with the legal requirement of keeping your drone within the range of visible sight.
The range of a toy drone may be within 100 yards, but a high-end drone meant for consumer purposes can have a range between 2.5 and 4.5 miles or 4 to 8 kilometers.
The drone range in the case of mid-level consumer drones is usually between 0.25 and 1.5 miles or 400 meters to 3 kilometers.
Here we discuss the common doubt many drone owners have on how far they can fly their drone from the remote controller.
- Related: How Fast and High can Drones Fly?
How Far Can I Fly My Drone From Remote Controller?
Range of Controls
The flight range of your drone is dependent on the controller’s signal strength and the kind of transmission technology the drone maker has employed.
Usually, the expensive models come with a longer range. In the case of drones meant for recreational purposes, initially, you might face the trouble of reaching the limit specified for your controller’s signal without flying beyond the line of visual sight.
FAA regulations do not permit flying your drone beyond the visual line of sight. Also, there are also other reasons why you must go for a better controller strength.
Drones come in different shapes, sizes and specifications. They also come with differences in terms of how far they can fly from their controller and stay. For instance, a toy drone might not be able to fly farther than the distance of a football field.
When you opt for pricier models, you gain access to more controller signal strength. Mid-level drones can give you a bit better range. In drone models costing between $150 and $500, you may expect to fly the drone for a distance of about a quarter of a mile to a mile and a half before it starts losing signal.
Premium drone models in the pricier range come with a longer range capability. While buying drone models costing between $800 and $1,500, you can expect to find models that can maintain the signal with the controller for about 2.5 to 5 miles.
In most cases, these ranges would be far beyond the line of visual controller within which you are mandated to fly your machine.
Controller range of some popular drone models
Here is an overview of the controller range of some popular drone models.
|Drone Model Name
|Flight Range from controller
|Optimum Flight Time
|Holy Stone HS210 Mini Drone
|SIMREX X300C Mini Drone
|Altair Outlaw SE
|Holy Stone HS720 Foldable GPS Drone
|DJI Mavic Mini
|Autel Robotics EVO Drone
|DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
|Autel Robotics EVO II
|DJI Mini 2
|DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Why must you fly your drone within the visual line of sight
Even in cases where your drone model can maintain the signal connection with its controller at a distance of 4 miles, it is a big question if you can see the fly machine clearly to ensure if it is appropriately responding to the controls. In fact this topic matters a lot.
One advantage of flying your drone within the line of sight is the issue of safety. When you lose clear physical sight of your drone during its flight, you can’t even say if it might crash into something, or if it is rightly following the command of the controls. If a drone gets out of control, it can cause a danger to itself, buildings, people, and vehicles.
For the reasons we have discussed, the FAA guidelines regarding operating your drone safely for recreational purposes mandate that the drone always stays within the visible line of sight.
The question of how far you can maintain a physical view of your drone depends on factors like the air conditions, obstacles nearby and the nature of the terrain.
However, for practical purposes, we can say you can see your drone clearly from a distance of 1,500 feet to 2,00 feet from you, which is lesser than half a mile. At such a distance, you will not be able to tell the difference between a bird and your drone.
When you need to keep your drone’s flight range within a mile or less to ensure a clear vision of it, the question of a drone with a longer range does not necessarily arise.
Some important long-range drone applications
Various industries confront some robust requirements where the drone is needed to fly for a distance of around 3 to 4 miles from the controller.
In such cases of commercial applications, the drones have to fly farther than the visible line of sight and therefore licensed drone pilots can apply for a waiver requesting the FAA to permit them to operate their drones beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS).
Drones can help farmers scout the field by traveling over the entire field and in this case, they need to reach 3 to 4 miles away from their controller.
When pre-planned flight paths are done in settings, it is possible to let the drone cover the entire space without the pilot having to keep the drone within the visible line of sight. With such a setting, the drone can cover the entire field and come back to the takeoff point after finishing its course.
For mapping applications, the drones need to cover a vast territory and they can do this effectively only if they can fly beyond the range that the pilot can see. Long-range drones are useful to capture data required for detailed 3D maps.
- Safety & Security
For the purpose of perimeter security at huge construction sites, commercial warehouses or prisons, the drones that need to cover the entire perimeter will have to fly beyond the visual line of sight of the pilot.
Similarly, public safety agencies that are tracking suspects and performing rescue or search functions require drones that can fly far beyond the takeoff point.
- Package Delivery
Package delivery services need to fly their drones for more than several miles from the takeoff point to conduct reasonable delivery operations. In these cases, automated flight planning will rule out the necessity for the pilot to keep an eye on the drone.
- Recreational applications of long-range drones
The requirement of flying a drone over long distances is not only faced across some professional applications, even hobbyists can benefit from drones with long signal ranges. Drones capable of powerful signal transmission ensure several advantages to their owners.
When there are factors that can interfere with the signal, powerful signals can ensure the drone’s connection with the controller is not lost. Also, you can avoid latency or video shutter issues by opting for long-range drones.
What to expect when a drone flies out of range
To understand the question of a drone’s flight range, we must have a clear idea of the two terms namely the video signal range and the controller range.
Controllers operating on the 2.4GHz range can control the live video feed signal of the drone camera on the 5.8GHz range. The point here is that the video signal will be lost much before the drone loses connection with the controller.
The moment you lose your video feed, the image displayed on the screen will start shuttering and will fail. This need not cause panic in you. The drone will continue to stay responsive to the controls.
While you may not be able to see what is next to the flying machine through the screen, you must now ensure that the drone flies within the visual line of sight.
To pick up the video feed once again, you need to get the drone to move a little closer to you manually or hit the home button.
You may expect two things to happen when the drone reaches the extreme limit of the controller’s range. In such cases, most drones with GPS capabilities are pre-set to return home automatically – an inbuilt failsafe mechanism.
Alternatively, the drone might also stop and start hovering in the mid-air. In this case, you can physically move a bit closer to the drone and try to establish the signal between the drone and its controller once again.
If the drone lands automatically, it is quite fine as long as it is not flying over water or terrain that is difficult to reach.
The least possible scenario to expect in the case is that the drone continues to fly away from the controller. In most cases, this is the least likely scenario unless the failsafe settings are disabled.
If there are obstacles on the way and the return to home function is activated, the drone might crash into something, also expected due to an instance of flyaway.
Therefore, it is advisable to stay proactive by very well knowing the operating range of your drone.
Is it possible to increase your drone’s range and how?
If you want to increase the existing range of your drone to make it fly farther away from the controller safely, here are a few ways in which you can achieve your objective.
Ensure that the drone’s firmware settings are within the FCC limits and not within the CE limits alone. This will ensure that the drone achieves the maximum operating range possible for the model.
By adding an antenna extender or a better antenna or a more powerful receiver to the controller, you can enhance the flight range.
You may buy a range extender that might not cost you much. However, it has a definite advantage in increasing the operating range’s threshold level.
Jon is a passionate photographer and videographer who has been flying DJI drones for over 5 years. He loves the freedom and creativity that comes with capturing aerial footage and the unique perspective it provides. Jon is always on the lookout for new locations to explore and capture with his DJI drones. His favorite DJI drone is the Mavic 2 Pro, which he uses to capture stunning 4K footage with its Hasselblad camera. Jon is always eager to share his knowledge and experience with other drone enthusiasts and is a member of several online drone communities. When he’s not flying his DJI drone, Jon enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with his family.