A drone is an unmanned aircraft with a camera. They are used in professional photography but also have many other practical uses for the average person. One of these is to take pictures or videos from a unique perspective that would be difficult or impossible otherwise.
Drones can fly up high and go places inaccessible by humans. The problem is that they can only stay in the air for so long before they need to land and recharge their battery again.
This article will explain how long drones typically last in the air before needing to land, what factors affect this time span, and finally, some tips on how you might get more out of your drone’s flight time!
How Long Can Drone Stay In The Air
There are many sizes of batteries available for different drone models. A larger battery will allow your drone to stay in the air longer. If batteries are not maintained well, they will eventually fail to last. A well-maintained battery will provide longer flight times than a battery that charges less efficiently after a few months.
If you are looking for a drone that lasts longer, look for one with a lithium battery. Lithium batteries can store more energy, and they can last a lot longer before they start to degrade. Although you will have to pay more, the luxury of lithium batteries is well worth it.
The Drone’s Weight
The battery’s ability to maintain the drone in the air will depend on the number of motors it has, whether it is one, two, or four. To ensure long flight times, a large drone will need a large battery.
Lightweight drones will fly farther if they are made of lighter materials.
Drones With Very Long Flight Times
This article has been based on the average consumer drones. The best flight time that you can reasonably expect from a consumer drone is around 30 minutes. There are many exceptions to this rule, however, when it comes to commercial drones. These drones can take longer flights than normal. Some use larger, more powerful batteries, while others use alternate power sources like hybrid motors, solar power, or being tethered so that they can stay in flight for an indefinite time.
Let’s take a look at some of these outliers.
Commercial drones can have longer flying times than consumer drones. The DJI Matrice 200 series drones can fly for up to 38 minutes with powerful batteries.
The DJI Matrice 300 drones can fly for up to 55 minutes. If you need to spend more time in the air, like for public safety operations or other emergency operations, the larger drones with higher costs are definitely worth it.
Fixed-wing drones are often forgotten about by the average consumer because they don’t match their immediate mental image. Fixed-wing drones are more aerodynamically efficient and can fly longer than standard quadcopters, even with a comparably sized battery.
Parrot Disco, a hybrid fixed-wing, and the fixed-wing is an example. It has automatic takeoffs and landings, so you don’t need to launch it as you would with a traditional fixed-wing. It is priced in the mid-to-high-end range and has 45 minutes of flight time in the air.
Parrot Disco is considered a hybrid drone because it has a fixed-wing aircraft that also incorporates a propeller to assist with takeoff and landing. The Quaternium, a hybrid that uses fuel and electricity to keep it up in the air, is another example.
The generator powers the engine, which charges the battery while it is in flight. The Hybrix2.0 drone flew for 4 hours and 40 mins, breaking all previous records.
US-1 Battery Drone
The US-1 was designed with a battery-first approach, the US-1 is basically a flying battery with the battery cells taking up most of the internal space. This drone weighs in at 15.7 lbs due to a large amount of lithium-ion batteries inside.
At $7,500, the price tag for this drone is higher than most people are willing to pay. The extended flight time, which is geared towards commercial users, is well worth the extra cost. It can fly uninterrupted for around two hours. The battery can be charged quickly, reaching 75% in just 45 minutes.
Diesel Powered Drone
The record-breaking flight of Vanilla Aircraft’s 36-foot fixed-wing drone, VA001, took place over five days, one hour and 24 minutes. Unbelievably, this diesel-powered had three days of fuel left when it touched down.
We are now able to fly at a very high altitude, well beyond what is possible with a standard commercial drone. The Zephyr S from Airbus is a solar-powered drone that can cruise at 70,000 feet and has an 82-foot wingspan. The drone uses solar energy from its onboard solar cells to power twin propeller motors. Its longest flight was 25 days, 23hr and 57 min.
The PHASA-35 is currently in development by British companies BAE Systems, Prismatic and Prismatic. The PHASA-35 has a larger wingspan at 114 feet and more area for photovoltaic cell installation. It is expected to remain aloft continuously for more than a year.
You can tether your drone to ensure it stays in the air for an indefinite time. It means it is plugged in and can fly for as long as you want. The distance it can travel, which is limited by the length of your tether, is what limits it. This long-term aerial view is useful for security and surveillance purposes, where it’s impossible to build a tower.
The DroneCatcher is a tethered drone that can be used to detect and bring down malicious drones. The DroneCatcher can be untethered and fly with battery power to track down the enemy drone and return to its station.
Top Long Flight Time Drones – Reviews
Be prepared, a lot of the drones within the professional drones with the longest flight time come from the powerhouse manufacturer DJI. With that said, we’re giving you the honest, best of the best when it comes to the longest flight times, so be ready to make your choice!
1. The DJI Mavic Pro
Although the Mavic Pro looks small, it is built to last for long-distance missions. Mavic Pro can fly up to 7 km from its control box. But what makes it so special is the powerful battery that can keep the drone in the air for over 25 minutes. The drone is comparable to other drones in its category, which can fly for around 10-15 minutes.
2. DJI Inspire
DJI is one of the most respected brands in the industry. Their latest drone has a lot of new toys and improved machine capabilities. DJI Inspire is equipped with sensors and a cool obstacle avoidance system. It also has a 25-27 minute flight time. The drone is also stable in windy conditions, which adds to its appeal.
3. Blade Chroma 4K
The Blade Chroma weighs in at 2.9 pounds and has a 6,300 mAh lithium battery. The design of the body is solid and compact. Horizon Hobby offers a variety of adhesive skins that can change the drone’s color. They also offer machine parts replacements. When carrying a camera, Blade Chroma can fly for 20+ minutes. However, removing all add-ons to the drone can increase its flight time to over 30 minutes.
Each of these drones will provide a fun and long flight experience. However, it is important to remember the following maintenance tips so that your drone continues to serve you well into the future.
4. DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Another DJI quadcopter, the Phantom 4 Pro, an impressive flight times of up to 30 minutes. It’s currently priced at $1,180. This is a reasonable price considering all it offers.
It offers serious Flight Autonomy with five obstacle sensing directions, four obstacle avoidance sensors, and a maximum transmission range of up to 7 km. This system is unstoppable.
Phantom 4 Pro is not recommended for anyone who isn’t interested in a professional camera drone. This drone is more suitable for aerial photography and videography than ordinary flight.
5. Parrot Bebop 2 FPV
Another impressive drone is the Bebop 2 FPV from Parrot. It can fly for up to 25 minutes, and it will set you back at approximately $425 at the time of writing. The Bebop 2FPV bundle is the best deal as it includes the Parrot Skycontroller 2 as well as Parrot Cockpitglasses. It also comes with the longest-lasting drone battery.
Parrot Skycontroller 2 has a maximum range of about 1.2 miles. The Parrot Skycontroller 2 has a few essential features, such as Return to Home, that allow for smooth and steady flight.
To access Flight Plan’s autonomous flight planning feature, you will need to download the FreeFlight Pro App. The purchase is not expensive, but it’s a good deal for us!
Why Drone Flight Times Are Less Than Advertised
It’s something I keep repeating, so let us talk about why actual flight times are almost always shorter than advertised maximum flight times. These are the factors that affect battery life and drone flight time.
Payload Shortens Flight Time
Flight time advertised by the manufacturer is based on the standard configuration of the drone. Any additional payload (e.g., other attachments) will reduce the drone’s battery life and result in a shorter flight time. If you are fishing with your Phantom 4, attach a bait release device and haul fishing line to it, you will lose approximately 3-4 minutes of flight time.
Lights that are attached to your drone for night flights would be another example of a drone payload that adds weight. Even though the weight of the lights is minimal, it will affect battery life and drain the batteries that power them. It could also be used as an emergency parachute to protect you in the event of a motor or propeller failure. Although the parachute adds only a few ounces to your flight time, it can still cause flight delays.
Propeller guards are the most popular accessory that beginners attach to their drones. These will not only protect your drone and propellers from a crash but also add weight. They also reduce the drone’s efficiency slightly by interfering with its ability to achieve lift. This leads to shorter flight times.
Flight Conditions Can Affect Flight Time
Weather and other air conditions are another major influence on your drone’s flight time. Although drones can be used in temperatures as low as 0 degrees Celsius, they are not designed to fly in extreme cold. However, cold weather will affect the life of LiPo batteries and cause them to discharge faster, reducing your flight time.
Extremely hot weather can also reduce your flight time because the air in hotter temperatures is denser. Your motors will need to work harder to generate lift, which puts more strain on the batteries.
Windy weather can also make your batteries drain faster as the drone must work harder to maintain an altitude against the wind. Even slight breezes can cause motors to work harder. This is the main reason for shorter flight times. Outdoor flight conditions are rarely wind-free, especially if you’re higher than 15-20 feet.
Usage Scenarios That Shorten Flight Time
The battery life will be affected by how you fly the drone. Simple hovering will allow you to fly for the longest time, and it is the most efficient way to use the motors. Drain the battery faster the more you move around. You can expect to fly at maximum speed, you can expect to get half the speed and get half the flight time.
There are many drones that have different flight modes. You can choose to fly in sport or beginner. This will impact the flight time. The drone’s other functions, like taking video, will also reduce battery life. This is because the camera draws power from the battery. You can expect to fly for a shorter time if you are flying in sports mode or taking a lot of videos.
Battery Age Has An Impact On Flight Time
The battery’s age, or more specifically, the number of recharges, can also impact its performance. The battery will lose its charge over time and will result in a decrease in flight time. Your batteries’ useful life will be extended if you take care of them and use good charging habits. However, eventually, it will need to be replaced. Smart batteries will provide a reading about battery health. It is recommended that you replace your batteries once they reach 50%.
You can check the battery health of your DJI drone by holding down the power button for approximately 10 seconds. The four blinking lights will indicate the health of your battery by showing you how they are performing. A lower number means that the battery is less healthy and has less capacity to hold a charge. Other models may have similar functions or provide information via the controller about battery health.
How To Increase Your Drone’s Flight Speed
These are some things that you can do to increase your drone’s flight time if you have one already. Good battery care is the name of this game, except for a few minor things.
Reduce The Weight Of the Drone
To reduce weight and increase flight duration, remove any items that are not necessary. Propeller guards are an important one. The camera can be removed for longer flight times, but you also lose most of the drone’s useful functions.
You don’t need all the add-ons, like specialized lights, for every flight. Only attach what you use for that flight.
Fly In Favorable Weather Conditions
To extend the drone’s life and to maximize the time you spend in the air, choose the best weather conditions.
- Avoid flying in humid or rainy conditions. Your motors’ efficiency and useful lives will be affected by this. This can cause battery problems in the long term and short term.
- Avoid flying in the extreme cold. Your batteries will be more affected by cold weather. You can warm your batteries in your pocket or hover for a few seconds after takeoff to warm them before you continue your flight.
- Avoid extreme heat. High temperatures reduce the air density making it more difficult for drones to produce lift. Your batteries could explode or overheat in extreme heat. If the drone’s battery temperature reaches 65-70 degrees Celsius, keep an eye on it and turn it off.
- Windy conditions will cause the drone to work harder to stay stable and drain the battery quicker. To increase your flight time, fly in calm conditions.
The Race Is Won By Slow and Steady
It’s not the drone race. You can expect very short flight times if you fly at full throttles, like when you are drone racing. To get your drone up higher, lower it a bit, switch it to sport mode, and be careful not to make sudden movements or change in direction. You can fly for as long as you want if you keep your drone moving slowly and steadily, particularly if you make turns and change direction smoothly and gently.
Buy More Powerful Batteries
You can only use a standard drone battery. Some will work with other batteries, and if you are making a DIY drone setup, you can choose to get a stronger battery. A larger battery will cost you more, but it will give you a longer flight time.
Keep Backup Batteries Dandy
Extra batteries, fully charged and ready to go, can double the flight time. Yes, landing and changing the battery halfway through will be necessary, but it is possible to get back up and continue where you left off. If the batteries aren’t charged properly, they won’t be of any use. Make sure that they are on the charger, ready for the charge. You should charge your batteries as soon as you fly if you don’t have access to a charger. Keep your spares warm if you fly in cold conditions.
You Can Charge Your Batteries Before You Fly
Always carry a fully charged battery when you fly. You will have the longest flight time and the best battery health. The LiPo batteries start to lose power as soon as they are removed from the charger. Therefore, it is important to get your LiPo batteries in the air as soon as possible. You should keep your spare batteries charged up until you are ready to use them. It’s a good idea to have multiple chargers in case you need to charge more than one battery.
Keep Your Batteries In Good Condition.
Proper care for your drone battery will ensure you have the best flight time and prolong the battery’s useful life. These are the basics to get the most out of your drone batteries.
- Do not let your battery go completely dead. If your LiPo battery is completely discharged, it will begin to degrade quickly. Although most intelligent batteries won’t allow you to run them dry, don’t forget to charge your drones if you run out.
- Your battery should not freeze. It is dangerous to let your LiPo battery freeze because its chemical composition is compromised. It should be disposed of and replaced.
- Before charging your battery, cool it. Do not take the battery out of the drone and place it on the charger. It should cool down first.
- Before you turn it on, make sure the battery is installed. Never place a battery that is powered on. To turn the drone on, you must follow the following order: Power on a controller, first install the battery, then power on the battery.
- Don’t remove the battery that is powered on. Before removing the battery from your drone, power off it. Last, turn off the controller. To continue flying, you must first power off your battery. Once it is removed, don’t turn on the new battery until it’s properly installed.
- When not in use, keep your battery at a partial charge (40-55%). It should not be kept in the charger for too long. A battery that is left unattended or charged at too high a level can lead to permanent damage and a reduced flight time.
Guide to Buying
The purpose of flying the drone should first be considered.
Do you want to become a professional pilot? Do you want to learn how to take good aerial photos? Do you work as a professional pilot?
After you have determined your purpose for flying it, you will want to find the right balance between:
- Flight time
- Camera quality
These are the most important features pilots should pay attention to. You want a drone with a good flight time and the features you require for your purpose.
Why would you need a drone that has a long flight time and good battery life?
How does it sound to be constantly changing batteries and running out of power while you’re on the field? It’s not a lot of fun, is it? It is because of this that drone flight times are important.
It can be difficult to keep multiple batteries charged. This is not about one or two batteries, but four or more.
Professional videography and photography in aerial photography require a high-quality drone. You can have more batteries than you need, but you will not be able to get anywhere if your drone doesn’t have enough flight time.
What is the maximum time drones can hover?
Because you aren’t running the motors, drones can hover longer than they can fly. This is because the battery doesn’t get depleted. This will not add much time to drone flight times of between 10 and 30 minutes.
What is the average drone flight time?
The average time it takes to fly a drone is 20 minutes. The price of the drone and its type will determine how long a drone can fly. A drone flight takes approximately 5-10 minutes to fly for beginners, 15-20 minutes for a mid-range drone, and 20-30 for prosumer vehicles.
How can you charge a LiPO?
The long-flying drones in this list have battery chargers. You just need to plug it in and wait for it to turn green. These chargers can plug into a wall, but USB chargers that fit into your computer or an existing outlet attachment (like what you have for your smartphone) are becoming more popular.
How long can you keep a drone’s battery charged?
While the time it takes to charge batteries will vary between drones, it is common for them to take at least 20 minutes to an hour. The chargers for cheaper drones can take longer to charge, sometimes taking up to 5-6 hours.
What is the maximum distance that a drone can fly?
People often ask “How long can a personal drone flight?”. The longest commercially available quadcopter can fly for around 31 minutes. The DJI Mavic 2 is a brand-new drone, which retails at well over a thousand USD. This flight time is unbeaten by any other manufacturer of small drones. The current market is not offering a drone that can fly for more than an hour.
Cargo drones are usually capable of flying for a longer time. The X8 Long Range Drone is an example of a drone that can fly for over an hour. These drones are the longest flying drones available, but they are not easily accessible to most readers so they are not included in this list.
Military drones can fly for many hours at once. The record was allegedly held by a Chinese drone, which flew for over 30 hours. These drones can fly for up to 30 hours, but they are not affordable to consumers.
LucidCam hopes this article has given you some helpful information to make your decision. If there is anything else that we can help with, please reach out! Drones are an amazing tool for getting the best aerial perspectives of places and things in a quick amount of time.
We want to be sure that when selecting a drone, it will meet all your needs and expectations, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like more advice on which model might work best for you. Thanks again for reading our blog post!