Most people don’t care how high their drone can fly.
To be honest, it’s not an issue I’ve thought about too much. I mean, until I saw this video of a man flying his drone to a 33 000-foot madness.
That made me wonder, how high altitude can some commercial drones get? What drones have the highest ambitions? Can any of them get into space? OK, the last one is definitely not going to happen, but I’m still going to try to find the commercial drones with the highest altitude rating.
- 1 Drones to fly at high altitude our list
- 2 Here are our high altitude drones to fly favorites:
Drones to fly at high altitude our list
• Traxxas Aton (+-400 ft)
• Blade Chroma (+-1000 feet)
• Autel Robotics X-Star Premium (+-3300 feet-maybe?)
• YUNEEC Typhoon Q500 4k (+-3300 ft)
• DJI Inspire 2 (+-16500 ft ASL with high-rise struts)
• DJI Phantom 4 (+-20 000 ASL ft)
With that I mean that these drones are not products created on purpose, customized or physically modified. Are the altitude numbers that we care about here, though with a software hack here and there.
Drones to fly at high altitude: tips
Getting a drone to go higher and higher is not just a case of throttle crushing. There are many factors limiting the ability of any flying machine. On the one hand, it could be relatively quiet near the ground, but as you advance the winds can become much stronger than a helicopter can handle.
The air is also getting slimmer and thinner, which means that the rotors do not work with the same efficiency. The temperature also drops quickly the higher you get. Lithium-ion batteries lose performance as the temperature drops. Basically the farther away you are from the Earth, the more determined nature is to make you come back. So the drones that can reach high-altitude numbers are really impressive from the design standpoint. Respect!
Also keep in mind that there is a difference between the maximum altitude above ground level and above sea level (ASL). Many drones have elevated sea-level altitudes, but they will only go a limited distance from the terrain. The numbers quoted here represent altitudes on the ground, but in many cases it is not clear what their objective is. Where I can confirm that it’s a ASL number I’ve noticed. Feel free to correct the figures in the comments if you have more information.
Drones to fly at high altitude: flight and safety
Just because a drone is rated to reach a certain height doesn’t mean it’s safe! The higher you go, the better the chances that something will go wrong. You may lose the radio link or fly due to strong winds. Generally, users who want high altitudes usually have a specific purpose in mind, such as filming a structure that needs that type of height. If you go up to the blue beyond, you have to do it with full knowledge that your drone could be going for good-bye.
Also note that the above mentioned altitudes can usually only be achieved by removing the software limiters. In some cases, this may involve piracy, which may void the warranty.
Drones to fly at high altitude: the law
The video I included at the top of the article was made in Siberia, which apparently does not have much in the way of the laws of drones. Then it was a perfectly legal thing to try. But in other parts of the world things are not so loose.
In the US According to FAA laws, you cannot fly your drone to more than 400 feet (about 120 meters) without special permission. So, how high a drone can fly might not be very relevant to you if it is not someone who can get that permit (as a scientific investigator) and, therefore, will never need that ability. If you are in a profession that requires some height of your drone or you live in a part of the world where it is legal to press the roof a little, keep reading to see the main contenders.
Even if there are no explicit height restrictions in your part of the world, direct visibility laws could have the same effect. So, if your drone is so high that you can’t see it at first sight, you can also be breaking the law with drones to fly high altitude.
Traxxas Aton (+-400 ft)
Traxxas is not the best known brand, but I have actually had more than a few races with its drones in recent years and I have been impressed overall. They do some really fun racing drones and other non-self-cuadricópteros. With a strong sense of style, great fuselages and good performance, here’s a lot I like.
The Aton is no exception to this brand image. It looks like a racing car and is adorned with striking colors and shapes. It looks like the runner and when you take the limiter and change it to sport mode, this really moves. Aton says it will exceed 50 mph, which is over 80 km/h. It may not sound so fast, but it’s 30% faster than, say, the DJI Spark.
This also makes the Aton built specifically for crazy acrobatics and aerobatics. The frame is made of composite material, which is one of the reasons why it has a fairly high price for a relatively basic drone. That doesn’t mean it can’t be used for some footage either. It has a stable flight mode to take better images and you can also get a Aton with the optional gimbal.
There is no camera included in any way, so you can simply connect the sport action camera compatible with the mount.
So why is Aton on this high-altitude list? It’s because this drone exceeds 400 feet. Which means no matter how high you push it, you’ll still be on the right side of the law in the US. usa. Make No mistake, 400 feet is still quite high. The Aton frees you from having to check how high you’re going to start.
The drone has an application interface and a GPS system. Allow functions such as retain position and return home. All in all, this is a rough sports drone.
Here are our high altitude drones to fly favorites:
Blade Chroma (+-1000 ft)
The design of Blade Chroma is clearly riffing quite strong in the DJI Phantom. At least at first sight. If you look a little closer you will notice that this drone has not gone by the look completely white, all soft. Instead, there are a lot of little details and details that I like quite a bit.
It has a 1080p/60fps camera with a three-axis gimbal and a price tag that puts it in the same stadium as similar drones from well-known brands. Blade says you’ll get 30 minutes of flight from the Chroma, which is pretty good at this price point.
Similar to a Phantom, the Chroma has tracking modes, automated flight patterns and several security features that mean even a rookie pilot won’t ruin it. The included transmitter also has a large 5.5 “built-in touchscreen. He really has a lot of money. You can also buy versions of this drone without camera or with a different camera model.
In terms of altitude, the Chroma is limited by software to 400 feet, but I have seen people reaching altitudes of more than 1000 feet. This drone is working well in years and it doesn’t even appear on the Blade home page, as far as I can see, but it could be a viable mid-range option. Even if you have to pick up one used.
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium (+-3300 ft-maybe?)
I’ve never heard of Autel robotics, to be honest. Searching your website produces some very interesting drones. The X-Star Premium is an updated model of its X-Star. It improves the original in several ways, particularly when it comes to the video transmission range.
The X-Star comes with a 4k camera and a 1.2-mile video transmission range. It is self-contained and is compatible with GPS and GLONASS. This premium package also comes with a 64GB memory card as standard. A small but nice thing to have in the box. Also, if you take 4k material, 64 GB is not too much.
Use the Starlink application, which allows you to play with all the different configurations as expected, while acting as a live streaming monitor. The transmitter has a telephone/tablet clamp for that purpose.
In terms of altitude, the X-Star is limited to 400 feet of altitude regulation, but I have several people ready to say that it can be pushed up to 3300 feet with limiting the deleted software. The point is that I can’t find any solid instructions on how it’s supposed to work and the official documentation doesn’t mention anything I can find. So take this particular altitude figure with a grain of salt.
YUNEEC Typhoon Q500 4k (+-3300 ft)
YUNEEC has been making a real name and is a truly viable alternative for DJI and its range of leading drones in its class.
The Q500 in question here is an absolute and incredibly well priced beast for what you get. The built-in camera in this model will work at 4k/30fps or 1080/120fps.
The Q500 has been widely praised as a solid drone that provides a stable platform for videographers and amateur photographers. This comes with the ground station ST10 +, which has a built-in screen. The same basic unit we saw with Blade Chroma.
When it comes to high altitude, the Q500 apparently has no altitude restriction limit on the latest firmware and the owners have allegedly flown it at 1000 meters (3300 feet) with some success.
DJI Inspire 2 (+-16500 ft ASL with high-rise struts)
If he’s spending several thousand dollars on a drone instead of several hundred, he expects great things from him. The Inspire 2 is a professional drone for Hollywood Productions and super-serious projects.
The Inspire 2 can be equipped with a 5.2 K camera. Incredibly solid intelligent flight modes and a really cool landing gear that rises completely out of the camera view. It also has a respectable flight resistance, given the great payload and the technological density. DJI says you’ll get 25 to 27 minutes depending on the camera you choose.
The Inspire 2 has a power of 16500 feet above sea level. To be able to reach that height and operate in such a fine air, however you need the special props for high altitude. This means you can use this drone to film in places with light air without worrying about your baby falling out of the sky.
DJI Phantom 4 (+-20 000 ASL feet!)
Does the Phantom 4 even need an introduction? This is the latest version of the series of models of drones that launched DJI in the market leader that is today, this is one of the drones to fly at high altitude with very good performance.
Like other high-end drones in the DJI stable, the Phantom 4 benefits from Advanced vision systems and high levels of autonomous flight capacity.
You get a 4k/30fps camera with a very effective gimbal. This produces images that certainly look very professional, although DJI does not market the Phantom as more than “enthusiastic”. You’ll have to look at the aspirations of inspire for Hollywood.
At this point, DJI has perfected almost everything about its software so that the small details of the design have been polished to glow. This is one of the most mature drone platforms on the market.
It also has the highest ASL altitude rating here. While the common drone is limited to 400 feet above ground level, it can operate at almost 20 000 feet above sea level!
Drones to fly at high altitude: Which one arrives higher?
It is surprisingly difficult to get a direct answer when looking for drones that can ascend to the highest heights, when one is more accustomed to fly at low altitude or indoors.
There also seems to be a rather unilateral decision by the manufacturers of drones to limit their drone at the factory to FAA specifications, despite having huge service ceilings. It is particularly annoying when there are many places on Earth where it is not dangerous or illegal to go far beyond what the US government does. usa. He feels comfortable.
Hopefully, that nanny attitude will eventually change to give the pilot the responsibility to obey his local laws. Still, I can’t help but wonder how far the actual flight capabilities of the consumption drones have come.