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How Far Can a Drone Fly? The Impressive Answer!

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Drone Inspection

Drones are becoming more and more prevalent in industry after industry, but what are the capabilities of these machines? Whether you’re thinking of getting one yourself and want to know what they can do or if you’re simply just curious, you’ve come to the right place.

Most drones can fly between 2.5 and 4 miles between charges, but that’s only an average distance. There are plenty of options out there, and some blow away that 2.5- to 4-mile threshold. Furthermore, as the technology improves, that number is sure to grow!

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How Far Can a Drone Fly?

When you’re trying to figure out how far a drone can fly, it depends on how much you’re willing to invest. The more money you’re willing to spend on your drone, the more it can do and the farther it can go.

Most drones have a range between 2.5 and 4 miles, but there are plenty of recreational drones that can go farther. The next tier of drones can typically go anywhere between 5 and 7 miles before they need to recharge.

Finally, keep in mind that while all this extra range is nice and lets you spend more time in the air, FAA regulations mandate that hobbyists must stay within direct line of sight of their drone while flying, so you can’t go explore wherever you want even if you have a long-range drone.

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Image Credit: Piqsels

What Is the Longest-Range Recreational Drone?

While there are many different recreational drones out there and more are always coming out, the longest-range recreational drone currently available is the DJI Mavic 3. It has an impressive range of 30 kilometers, or just over 18.5 miles!

There aren’t many situations for which you would need this range unless you’re using it in professional applications. The DJI Mavic 3 is still a great drone, though, and having a range that far is impressive for a hobbyist!

What Is the Longest-Range Drone?

While 18.5 miles is quite far for a recreational drone, it doesn’t scratch the surface of what the United States military can do with drones. The MQ-1B Predator drone gets a great deal of recognition with its 770-mile range, but that’s nothing compared to the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk has a range of 12,300 miles, which means it can literally fly halfway around the world before it lands!

RQ-4 Global Hawk

RQ-4 Global Hawk (Image credit: Scott Sandars, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)

How High Can a Drone Fly?

If we’re talking about recreational drones, it doesn’t matter how high they can technically fly — they’re legally not allowed to fly over 400 feet. This goes for both commercial and recreational applications; without prior FAA approval, drones cannot fly over this height.

Military drones don’t have such restrictions. The RQ-4 Global Hawk can reach altitudes up to 60,000 feet, which is far higher than most commercial aircraft!

How Fast Can a Drone Fly?

While most recreational drones only reach speeds around 25 to 30 miles per hour, if you’re looking for the fastest drone around, take a look at the DRL RacerX. This impressive drone can reach speeds of 163.5 miles per hour, making it the fastest battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter.

Some of the fastest top-end drones that you can buy at the store can reach speeds of 70 miles per hour, but they don’t have long flight times.

The top speeds of these drones are dwarfed compared to massive military plane drones. The RQ-4 Global Hawk, for instance, has a top speed of 357 miles per hour!

drone spraying sugar cane

Image Credit: Herney Gómez, Pixabay

Related Read: How to Spot a Drone at Night: Understanding Drone Basics

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Final Thoughts

With such a wide range of options out there, there are quite a few potential answers to how far a drone can fly. They can max out at distances as short as down the street, or they can conquer half the world between charges!

So, if you’re curious about a particular drone option, the best thing that you can do is look up that particular drone and check its range.


Featured Image Credit: Bannafarsai_Stock, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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