Drone technology has grown by leaps and bounds and consumer drones have greater range than ever before. This range doesn’t come without its limitations.
Range of DJI Drones
Drones like the DJI Phantom along with the DJI Mavic have ranges of around 2 to 3 miles, with the Mavic 2 pro going up to 18 km! These drones can maintain a radio link to a video connection and the pilot.
Drone cameras are great for capturing landscapes and things from afar, but they are not very good at imaging close up objects in detail.
For example, a quadcopter could take video or a superb overhead photograph of a building, but their faces would not even be recognizable when there was someone on a balcony said building.
So far as aerial photography programs are concerned, the DJI Mavic and DJI Phantom will be the leaders with great range and superb radio technologies that maintain a connection and also has a Return to Home failsafe where the copter would safely fly back to you in case of an interruption or disconnection from the radio link.
Range of racing quads
The range of most frequent racing quads, while the potential to be rather far with today’s technology, is limited by FPV range and battery lifetime.
You can maintain a radio link over very large distances — the TBS Crossfire radio platform advertises their scope to be up to 40km. Most miniquad radios however operate by default to the 2.4gHz range, where it is possible to expect a good radio link up to 1 km or maybe a bit more, depending on your receiver.
So while long range flights are actually possible with the TBS Crossfire, they’re slightly risky as one wrong move could lose you a quadcopter.
Racing have miniature batteries which push four propellers to spin fast and are extremely tiny machines quadcopters, or miniquads. The flight period you’d get out of a miniquad will be 3-5 minutes with propellers and the current motors. You hope to come back and can’t go too much in that much time. Sure, if you are pushing the quad in the 100 km/h, which is totally possible, you can cover a distance fast, but you also need to fly back!
Because they utilize slower motors and propellers larger quadcopters have better battery life, but even then they may be restricted by FPV range.
Whenever you’re flying FPV, then range becomes even dicier, especially in areas with
Most FPV techniques operate on the 5.8 gHz spectrum, which has even less range than 2.4 gHz commonly used in radios. With the right antennas along with transmitter/receiver combo, you couldpush 5.8 gHz movie to 1 mile or so away, but that’s if there’s nothing between you and the quadcopter — if you’re in an open field and fly straight out, or if you fly high and straight out so that there is a direct line between you and the quadcopter that doesn’t undergo any obstacles in between.
They are suited to planes more, although there are long range FPV systems that work on lower frequencies which can give array of 10-20 kilometers.