DJI drones are the most popular by a long shot when it comes to the drone market today and they easily dominate the entire industry. For good reason too, as they are some of the best in terms of their overall capabilities as drones. You may be wondering how capable these drones are when it comes to their ability to fly. So, how far can DJI drones actually fly?
Most of the consumer drones that we see from DJI have a flight range of about 2.5 to 4.5 miles or 4 to 8 kilometers. A few of the lower-level consumer drones such as the Mini or Mini 2 may get somewhere between a quarter of a mile to about half a mile in range.
While DJI drones are indeed the best in terms of what the industry can offer, that doesn’t mean that every drone model is a leader when it comes to its ability to stay airborne or in how far it can fly. That’s because each drone model has a different limit. In order to answer this question, it is best for us to look at the different DJI drone models that are popular in today’s market to find out exactly how far each can fly.
How far can DJI drones fly?
One of the things you might wonder if you are into drones is how far DJI drones can fly in terms of their distance from the controller. This is something that you might want to know considering that you don’t want to end up flying your drone too far away from you. You also may need to know exactly how well a particular drone can perform a specific task.
When you talk about different drones, there is no definite answer as to how far DJI drones can fly because there is no single standard that really encompasses all DJI drones in terms of what they can do. It’s not a one size fits all kind of thing when it comes to DJI drones because these drones come with different features, specifications, and sizes. Naturally, you would have to expect them to have different flight distance limits based on different factors.
Controller strength is one of the most important factors in determining how far a drone can go because the signal between the controller and the drone is what allows the drone to fly as far as it can.
This being the case, the stronger the controller is, the farther the drone will be able to fly from it. In most cases, DJI drones that are at the mid-range of the price scale tend to provide a good range for drones, while the more expensive ones are capable of allowing the drone to fly probably even farther than the eye can see.
DJI drones that are on the higher end of the price spectrum will most likely be able to have controllers that will allow the drone to fly somewhere between 2 and 5 miles away from the controller as long as there is nothing that is blocking or interfering with the controller signal. This distance is well beyond what you can get from lower-priced DJI drones that have weaker controllers.
Another factor to consider here is the battery of the drone. While some DJI drones might have controllers that are indeed capable of allowing the drone to reach nearly 5 miles away from the controller, the problem is that the drone will only be able to fly as far as its battery can take it (and back again!).
If your drone has a weaker battery, it won’t be able to fly as far as you might want it to fly because its battery won’t allow it to go that far. If you force your drone to fly to the outer limits of its controller range without considering its battery strength and how long it can fly, you might end up with a drone that is forced to return to you due to a depleted battery. In the worst scenario, your drone might end up crashing.
While DJI drones come with amazing batteries and great features that will keep the drone up in the air for as long as possible, you still can’t force your drone to fly farther than its battery is capable of. You have to be aware of your drone’s battery strength to know how far it can fly and how long it can stay up in the air.
If you want to know the flight distances and flight times of some of the most popular DJI drones on the market, refer to the table below:
|DJI Drone Model||Controller Range (miles)||Controller Range (kilometers)||Flight Time (minutes)|
|Mavic Mini 2||6.2||10||31|
|Mavic 2 Pro||11||17.7||31|
|Mavic 2 Zoom||11||17.7||31|
|Mavic Air 2||11.5||18.5||34|
|Phantom 4 Pro V2.0||4.3||7||30|
As you can see, different DJI drone models have significantly different flight range capabilities and times depending on what they are used for and on how strong their controllers and batteries are. In that regard, the best long-range DJI drone is the Mavic Air 2 based on how far it can go and how long it can stay up in the air.
Even though both the Phantom 4 Pro and the Inspire 2 are higher-end DJI drones, they do have shorter flight distances and times. This is because they are meant to fly in rougher conditions and are not designed to be long-range drones. Still, they can perform well when you fly them for long distances in tougher wind conditions than many of the other DJI drones can withstand.
How far are you allowed to fly your drone?
While some drones are indeed capable of flying distances that are quite far, you still have to consider the fact that there are limitations to how far you are allowed to fly your drone. These limitations are ones that are imposed by the FAA for safety and security reasons.
In that regard, even though your drone may be able to go as far as its physical and technical limitations allow, it still won’t be able to go beyond the limitations allowed by the law. If you do try to make it fly beyond the legal limitations, there are legal consequences on your part. Then again, there are some drones that are already pre-programmed to not be able to fly beyond what the law allows them.
What the law specifies is that you must fly your drone within your visual line of sight. That means that you should be able to see it and that your view of your drone should not be obstructed by something while it is flying. The reason for this rule is so that you don’t end up crashing into things or hurting people, which can easily happen if you don’t have a visual on your drone at all times during the flight.
To prevent things from being ambiguous, the FAA established clear guidelines that are quite understandable. For one, you should always keep your drone within a clear view of wherever you may be and that it should be unobstructed. For most practical purposes, a clear view of your drone is possible when it is within 1,500 to 2,000 feet away from you. Essentially this means that your drone will be at most about half a mile away from where you are.
The point of the FAA rule here is to make sure that you always keep your drone within your line of sight and that you always have a clear view of it. It might seem useless for your drone to be capable of flying up to 10 miles because you won’t even be able to fly it at that distance.
Exception for commercial drone pilots
It’s not a complete waste of good money and a good feature however for your drone to be able to reach up to 10 or 11 miles away from you. For licensed drone pilots with a specific job to do with a drone, it is possible to apply for a waiver to the visual line of sight restriction. Obtaining this type of waiver will allow them to fly the drone up to its technological limits, and in these cases, it can be extremely useful to have a drone with an extended range.
This is one of the reasons that the Mini and Mini 2 drones have a much shorter flight range. These drones are more often preferred by recreational flyers who will not have the chance to take a drone beyond visual line of sight and thus don’t need to have an extended flight range capability in their drone.
For professionals needing drones with a longer flight range, the higher-level consumer and prosumer drones from DJI are exactly what they need.
What happens if you fly your drone too far away?
All that considered, what happens if you fly your drone too far away from where you are? Well, here are some of the possible scenarios:
1. It returns home
DJI drones are built with a feature that will allow it to return to its take-off point or in some cases where its controller is when it has flown too far away. This is quite common in GPS drones that have a home point that can be set by their owner. This type of feature is a safety feature that allows the drone to return to a safe point where its owner can go to find it in case the drone needs to land suddenly for some reason.
2. It will stop and hover in the air
When you’ve flown your drone too far away from you, another likely scenario is that it will just stop and hover in midair. This is to give you a chance to come closer to it so that the drone will once again be in the range of its controller. However, if you don’t come closer to it in time before its battery dies, it might land in place or possibly crash to the ground.
3. It will land
Some DJI drones will try to land on the ground wherever it happens to be if it gets too far away and is running out of battery. This shouldn’t be a problem because DJI drones are built to land safely on their own. However, a problem arises if you happen to have flown the drone over water. The drone doesn’t know it’s landing on water, but that could be the end of your drone. Of course, the same problem arises if the drone lands on something that is difficult to reach such as on top of a building or in a tall tree.
4. Flyaway situation
One of the worst scenarios that can happen is that the drone will keep on flying away if it flies too far from the controller’s range. This is won’t happen too often for DJI drones because they come with safety settings such as hover in place and return to home. However, if you do disable such settings, or if you’re in certain modes, expect your drone to fly away from you if it is no longer within reach of its controller.
The worst that can happen to your drone if it flies too far away is that it will crash. This can happen due to a lot of different situations such as when it tries to go home and suddenly crashes into an obstacle. Another instance is when it runs out of battery and crashes to the ground. Of course, if the drone is in a flyaway situation, it will also most likely crash if it runs into an obstacle.
So, if your drone crashes due to any of those situations, you might need to get it repaired if it is even still salvageable. But the best thing of course is to make sure that you don’t fly your drone too far away from where you are to prevent it from crashing.