flying a drone over open water

How Far Can A Long Range Drone Go?

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Last updated on January 25th, 2024 at 08:32 pm

Drones have seen a massive boom in popularity over the past few years. Once they were a specialized tool for the military. 

Today, you can buy a drone with a few clicks of a button. You’ll be able to navigate these flying unmanned vehicles with a remote controller. 

Because of that, they can soar into the sky and give you a bird’s-eye-view of the world. Although they can only travel a certain distance from their receiver. 

Even devices with extended ranges have their limits. 

So, at this point, you may wonder, how far can a long-range drone go? If that’s the case, then we have an answer for you. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through the range of a drone. We’ll also cover the factors that affect the flying range. 

Creative abstract 3D render illustration of professional remote controlled wireless black RC quadcopter drone with 4K video and photo camera for aerial photography isolated on white background with reflection effect

What Is the Flying Range of a Long-Range Drone?

The flying range will depend on your drone. This is the maximum distance the gadget can fly away from its controller.

After that, you won’t be able to navigate the gadget remotely.

Some long range drones are able to travel about 3 miles, while others can go as far as 10 miles. 

We can determine this distance using one of two methods. The first is calculating how far a drone moves away from you before you lose control. 

Other than that, we can determine the figure based on the battery capacity. We use this number to figure out the distance the device can travel before the battery dies.  

Although, there are a few additional factors that’ll impact the range. 

What Factors Affect the Range of a Drone?

Now that you know how far a long-range drone can travel, we can move on to the factors that impact the distance. 

In this section, we’ll cover all the characteristics that’ll affect the flying span. 

  1. Airspace

The first factor that’ll affect your drone’s flying range is the available airspace. Remember, these devices can’t fly through solid objects. 

So, your terrain will limit the distance the drone can travel. 

Plus, physical barriers can weaken the connection between the drone and the controller. 

  1. Weather

If you’re flying the drone outdoors, the weather will play a major role in determining the range. That’s because these devices rely on a specific frequency band for communication. 

This is typically either 2.400 or 5.800 GHz, which is similar to Wi-Fi signals. 

Unfortunately, no matter how stable your connection is, the weather can impair it. Elements like rain and snow will reduce your ability to communicate with your drone. 

  1. Receiver Signal

Your drone is only as good as the controller that comes with it. That’s because once the device flies off, there’s no other way to navigate it.

So, the strength of the receiver’s signal will affect the range. To help you understand this, here’s a quick look at an example. 

When you connect your phone to Wi-Fi, it needs to be within a certain radius of the router. Otherwise, the connection will be spotty and unreliable. 

The same concept applies to drones. Once they exit a specific range, your controller won’t be able to communicate with them.

  1. Laws and Regulations
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With the rise in drone popularity, there are more rules coming out about how we’re allowed to use them. 

For starters, in most states, you need a certificate to fly the devices. You can get that from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Other than that, pilots aren’t allowed to fly over 400 feet unless they have special permits. 

Moving on, the drone should always be within the line of sight of the operator. That means the user has to keep an eye on the device at all times. 

This can significantly decrease the range of the gadget. 

Some long range drones are able to travel about 3 miles, while others can go as far as 10 miles.

  1. Type of Battery

We mentioned how the battery capacity can affect the range. Yet, the type of battery will also play a role. 

With drones, there are several power sources we can use. These include:

  • LiPo batteries
  • NiCd batteries
  • NiMH batteries

Some of these are more reliable than others. For instance, NiMH batteries are the most susceptible to the memory effect. 

That means after a while, they won’t be able to hold as much charge. This, in turn, will mean your drone won’t be able to fly as far. 

  1. Construction

Drones come in all shapes and sizes, with a wide variety of features. Because of that, the bodies of the devices can change. 

Depending on the aerodynamics of the gadget, the flying range can also shift. 

That’s because the construction of the drone will decide how much lift you get when you boot up the device. 

  1. Load

The heavier your drone is, the less distance it’ll be able to travel. This is because the device will consume more power as it moves through the air. 

For that reason, it’ll deplete the battery energy storage much faster. 

Silhouette of remote control a flying drone which taking photo over sunrise sea

How to Increase the Range of a Drone?

There are a few ways you can go about increasing the range of your drone. For starters, you may try adding an extension antenna to the controller. 

This will increase the signal strength of the receiver and allow the drone to travel further. 

Besides that, it’s a good idea to keep your device clean. That way, it won’t face as much air resistance while it’s flying through the air. 

This should increase the speed and distance, to boot. Plus, be sure to keep both the drone and controller fully charged.

Finally, you can upgrade the drone with a more powerful battery. Yet, you should keep in mind that these massive energy stores will be weighty. 

So, don’t go for the biggest battery you find. Otherwise, you may end up making the drone too heavy to fly. 

Wrapping Up

How far can a long-range drone go? Usually, the most expensive devices will be able to fly about 10 miles away from the controller. 

Although, there are quite a few factors that’ll affect this flying span. These include the air space, weather, receiver signal, and construction of the drone. 

Other than that, the laws in your area and the load of the device will come into play. Lastly, to increase the range, you can try an antenna, or purchase a larger battery.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAV) Quadcopter Drone In The Air Over House.

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