Got your first-ever drone? First of all, Congrats buddy because not everyone is so lucky. You must be wondering how long your drone can fly? Generally speaking, Drones have a short flight time of 10-31 minutes. But if you’re comparing these personal drones with military drones then there’s no match. They are capable of flying for straight 20-30hours. Isn’t it astounding?
DRONE FLIGHT TIME FOR DIFFERENT DRONES
|TYPE OF DRONES||FLIGHT TIME|
|Toy/Beginner Drones||10-15 minutes in ideal conditions.|
|Mid-range Drones||15-20 minutes in ideal conditions.|
|High-end Drones||20-31 minutes in ideal conditions.|
Probably you’ve guessed by now that how will your drone performs in terms of juice. Similarly, Let’s take a look at some of the big names in the drone industry and what’s their flight time?
|DRONES||MAX FLIGHT TIME|
|DJI Matrice 600||36 Minutes|
|DJI Mavic Pro||27 Minutes|
|DJI Phantom 4 Pro||30 Minutes|
|Blade Chrome 4K||30 Minutes|
|Yuneec Q500+||25 Minutes|
|Parrot Bebop 2||25 Minutes|
|ZeroTech Dobby||9 Minutes|
|Parrot Anafi||25 Minutes|
|Upair One||18 Minutes|
|Trexxas Aton Plus||25 Minutes|
|Yuneec Typhoon H Pro||25 Minutes|
|Parrot Mambo||8 Minutes|
|Hubson Zino||23 Minutes|
I know you can’t unsee ZeroTech Dobby & Parrot Mambo on this list because they’ve got the lowest of all the flight time. There’s a reason for this as Dobby is a small 4K recording drone that can fit inside your pocket whereas Mambo is an FPV drone that captures live video feed. Got it? Let’s move forward to talk.
How can I make my drone fly longer?
There are lots of factors that affect the flight time of your drones like weather conditions, battery, weight, size and flying style. If the weather is too hot, You’ll need to create more lift which will drain the battery faster than anything. Whereas in too cold conditions, the battery can dip under the critical voltage and its productivity will diminish in no time.
Not only weather conditions but there are also several other factors that can affect the flight time. Let’s talk about each of them one by one.
1. Drone Weight
Remember how racing cars are all stripped and left with an exoskeleton and basic things like engine, exhaust, tires, etc. Why do they do this? Because they want the lightest vehicle.
This can be applied even in the case of drones. Let me elaborate on it for you. If the drone is heavier more battery juice is spent on keeping it stable or stay in the air which can shorten the flight time. Heavy drones thus have shorter flight times until or unless powerful batteries power them. Lighter drones can fly for longer with the same amount of battery juice. You will, therefore, find the most expensive and long-range drones weighing so little.
You must be thinking about what parts can I remove from my drone to reduce its weight? It’s easy no worries, I can help you with this. Let me make a list of basic items that can be removed from your drone without affecting its performance.
- Propeller guard (Don’t remove it if you crash often)
- And, Some other protective accessories.
Not only this, but you can also switch to lighter parts by swapping lighter batteries and transmitters. Also, there’s still scope of improvement. As you can switch the body of your drone with a lighter body made of carbon fiber or any other alternative.
Okay, I guess I’m done with the drone weight. Moving forward to the batteries.
2. Battery Power
We all love drones so much but that’s not a common thing between us. It is how much we hate our batteries, Couldn’t agree more? Nobody loves low-battery alerts in between an enjoyable flight. So what we can do to improve it? Getting light and powerful battery is an option but these are hard to come by.
Looking for the best battery for your drone isn’t easy, right? I can help you, It is the one that can store more energy per unit mass. Generally, LiPo batteries are used for the same reason. As we need the battery to be as light as possible. Therefore, Li (representing Lithium which is the lightest metal) and Po (representing Polymer) making Lithium Polymer (LiPo) are used because of their property of storing more energy per unit mass i.e increased capacity with lightweight.
Wait, If you can’t find LiPo batteries what will you do? I got you covered. You can still opt for Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries. These are the best two alternatives for the above-mentioned batteries.
Some tips to improve battery life :
- Do not overcharge your batteries.
- Always store the batteries in a cool & dry place.
- Fully charge your batteries before flying.
- Avoid charging immediately after use (It can further damage them).
- Never drain batteries completely
PRO-TIP: It’s always a good idea to carry extra batteries with you.
Do you want to be environment-friendly? Here is another alternative to batteries i.e Solar Energy.
A drone can fly forever when it is powered by solar power. This technology has been shown to the world by the BAE Systems with their PHASA-35 drone and Airbus with their Zephyr S drone.
Mind-Boggling alternatives :
- Diesel Power (Generally used with military or heavy drones like Vanilla Unmanned)
- Hybrid Fuel (Includes recharging of the drone batteries with the help of combustion engine)
- Combustion Engine (Soon these types of drones are coming to the market so get ready!)
In spite of the fact that the above alternatives offer great flight times i.e. more than the normal 20-30 minutes tops, they are not available for the general public yet unless you make a custom drone. Batteries are the commonest power sources that can be utilized anywhere or by anyone around the globe. It is straightforward; more battery power implies more flight time.
3. Flight Mode
You must have guessed by now. Yes, The way you’re flying your drone whether it’s hovering in the air, or in the sport mode have different impacts. Keep in mind that using your drone in sport mode results in less flight time. Are you asking why?
Using drone in sport mode requires more battery juice for performance improvement. As you need more power to perform spins, turns, and flips. This also impacts the battery in the long term making it less useful over time, giving it fewer recharge cycles.
4. Motor & Propeller Type
The strength of the motor is an important factor in determining how fast the drone runs through the battery on the drone. Not only this, Propellers with a better angle of attack (i.e. how wind attacks the drone or any other object while in the air) and a larger surface area are more energy-efficient and will allow the drone pilots to fly for a longer period of time. Drones with the best flight times have their propellers made while keeping attention to detail and aerodynamics. Also, Motors are also chosen wisely which can be adjusted with the above aspects.
Therefore, a powerful motor not only enables a drone to climb faster but also allowing it to fly fast. However, it consumes more power and thus reduces how long a drone can fly. For example, Racing drones can fly with impressive speeds of up to 120mph but limited flight times of about 5-8 minutes as we saw with the case of Parrot Mambo while comparing flight times.
5. Weather Conditions
Clearly, It’s one of the most important factors. Every experienced drone pilot knows how important is to know weather condition before planning your flight. I have already explained this in my other article.
Therefore, We’ll talk about it in brief. It’s never a good idea to test your drone in heavy rainfall or snow until or unless your drone is waterproof. This can also happen in humid conditions as your drone will definitely return wet.
Also, try not to fly in windy days especially when there’s a chance of cyclone or tornado for your own safety. If you’re flying on a windy day, your drone will have to face resistance against it. It will only result in more drainage of battery.
Coming to the conclusions
How long drones can fly?
As you’ve known by now, It totally depends on the type of the drone you’re flying. For the most common drones, it is between 10-31 minutes. Also, These are not fixed as most of the max flight time we see is in the ideal conditions. Although, we can try to maximize it as much as we can by making some minor changes to our drones and flying style. I’ve summarised those points below, Take a look and note them somewhere. Good luck!
How to maximize flight time?
- Buy a new & better drone (I’m not kidding).
- Always carry an extra set of batteries with you.
- Purchase a powerful lightweight battery.
- Make weight adjustments.
- Change the body with lightweight materials like carbon fiber.
- Always check weather conditions before planning a flight.
- Try to avoid flips, turn and other stunts.
- Always remember, Hovering saves up to 10% battery.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed it writing.