Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have become increasingly popular in recent years for various uses such as aerial photography, delivery, and surveying. One of the most important factors to consider when buying a drone is its flight time, or how long the drone can stay in the air before needing to be recharged.
In this article, we’ll cover this topic in detail. We will also touch on things that affect flight time and how to extend it. So, let’s start!
Factors That Impact Drone Flight Time
One of the most important factors when it comes to drones is its flight time. Several things can affect a drone’s flight time, including the type and size of the drone, the payload it carries, and the weather conditions.
However, these are not the only things. By understanding what impacts the drone flight time, you can extend it. We will now go through these factors in more detail:
Drone Weight and Size
The size and weight of a drone also impact its flight time. Larger and heavier drones typically have more powerful motors and larger batteries, which allows them to stay in the air for longer periods. On the other hand, smaller and lighter drones may have smaller batteries and less powerful motors, which can limit their flight time.
If you want to learn more about this topic, read: Does Weight Affect a Drone’s Battery Life?
Additionally, the size and weight of a drone can also affect its maneuverability and stability in the air, which results in a shorter flight time. For example, a larger and heavier drone may be less agile and take more energy to maneuver, which will consume more battery power and reduce flight time.
Therefore, when considering a drone, it is important to consider not only the flight time, but also the size and weight of the drone and how it will affect its performance and maneuverability.
Battery Capacity and Discharge Rate
The battery capacity and discharge rate are important factors regarding drone flight time. The battery capacity refers to the amount of energy stored in the battery and is typically measured in milliampere-hours (mAh). The higher the capacity, the longer the flight time will be.
The discharge rate, on the other hand, refers to how quickly the energy stored in the battery is depleted. This is typically measured in amperes (A) and can vary depending on the drone’s motor power, payload, and other factors. A higher discharge rate will result in a shorter flight time, while a lower discharge rate will result in a longer flight time.
To maximize flight time, choose a battery with a high capacity and a low discharge rate. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the drone battery is fully charged and properly maintained for better performance.
Weather can have a significant impact on a drone’s flight time. Strong winds, for example, can make it more difficult for a drone to stay in the air, resulting in a shorter flight time. Additionally, high temperatures can also affect a drone’s flight time, as the heat can cause the battery to drain more quickly. Cold temperatures can also impact flight time, as batteries lose power in cold weather, reducing the flight time.
Rain or snow are factors to consider, as they can damage the drone’s electronic components and short-circuit the battery. Furthermore, flying at a high altitude can also affect flight time, as the air is thinner, and the drone needs to use more power to maintain altitude and overcome wind resistance.
Therefore, it’s important for drone operators to monitor weather conditions and plan their flights accordingly to maximize flight time and avoid potential damage to the drone.
Related Article: How Far Can A Drone Fly? Expert Explains
The type of motor used in a drone can significantly impact its flight time. Different motors have different power requirements and efficiencies, affecting how much energy is consumed during the flight. For example, brushless DC motors are typically more efficient than brushed DC motors, which means they consume less power and result in longer flight times.
Additionally, the number of motors used in a drone can affect its flight time. Drones with multiple motors may have longer flight times than those with a single motor, as the multiple motors can distribute the workload and reduce the energy consumption of each motor.
However, it is also important to note that multiple motors also increase the complexity and weight of the drone, which can also impact flight time. Therefore, when choosing a drone, it is important to consider the flight time, the type and number of motors used, and how they will affect the drone’s performance and energy consumption.
Top 5 Commercial Drones With the Longest Flight Time
Here are the best 5 drones for commercial use that you can buy that have the longest flight time.
1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro (30 minutes)
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a high-end consumer drone that is used for professional photography and videography. With its 4K camera and three-axis gimbal stabilization, the Phantom 4 Pro can capture stunning aerial footage.
The drone also has an impressive flight time of up to 30 minutes, making it ideal for longer shoots. Additionally, the Phantom 4 Pro has a range of advanced features, such as obstacle avoidance and active tracking, allowing it to follow and track a subject during the flight automatically. Overall, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a top-of-the-line drone that offers professional-grade performance and features at a relatively affordable price.
2. DJI Mavic 2 Pro (31 minutes)
The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is a great consumer drone known for its advanced features and long flight time. With a flight time of up to 31 minutes, the Mavic 2 Pro is able to capture stunning aerial footage and photos with its 3-axis gimbal camera, which is equipped with a 20-megapixel Hasselblad sensor.
The camera can capture 4K video at 30fps and has a wide range of manual camera controls, making it ideal for professional photographers and videographers. The drone also features advanced obstacle avoidance technology, which allows it to sense and avoid obstacles during flight, making it safer and easier to fly.
Additionally, the Mavic 2 Pro has a max flight distance of up to 11mi (18km) and can reach speeds of up to 44mph (72km/h). Overall, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is an excellent drone for those looking for a high-performance and versatile drone with a long flight time.
3. DJI Mini 2 (31 minutes)
The DJI Mini 2 is another great lightweight drone that is perfect for capturing stunning aerial footage. It has a 4K camera and 3-axis gimbal stabilization, ensuring smooth and steady footage. The drone also has a range of up to 6.2 miles (10 km) and a flight time of up to 31 minutes.
Additionally, it has advanced features such as obstacle avoidance and GPS/GLONASS positioning. Overall, the DJI Mini 2 is a great choice for those looking for a high-quality drone that is easy to use and transport. It is a perfect drone for beginners and hobbyists and also provides great value for money.
4. DJI Air 2S (31 minutes)
The Air 2S is also a great DJI drone with advanced features and capabilities for capturing stunning aerial footage. It has a 1-inch CMOS sensor camera with a 3-axis gimbal stabilization that allows you to capture 5.4K video at 30fps and 20MP photos. The drone has a range of up to 6.2 miles and a flight time of up to 31 minutes. It has advanced features such as obstacle avoidance, ActiveTrack, and Hyperlapse.
The Air 2S also comes with DJI’s Smart Controller, which makes it easy to control and view the drone’s camera in real-time. It also has a new feature called MasterShots, which allows the drone to capture cinematic footage automatically. The DJI Air 2S is an excellent choice for a high-quality drone with advanced features and capabilities.
5. DJI Mavic Air 2 (34 minutes)
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a very powerful drone that offers advanced features and capabilities for capturing stunning aerial footage. It has a 4K camera with a 3-axis gimbal stabilization for smooth and steady footage. The drone has a range of up to 6.2 miles and a flight time of up to 34 minutes. It has advanced features such as obstacle avoidance, ActiveTrack, and Hyperlapse.
The Mavic Air 2 also comes with DJI’s Smart Controller, which makes it easy to control and view the drone’s camera in real-time. The DJI Mavic Air 2 is an excellent choice for those looking for a high-quality drone with advanced features and capabilities. It’s perfect for professionals, enthusiasts, and hobbyists alike, as it offers great value for money and it is very user-friendly.
Top 5 Enterprise Drones With Longest Flight Time
While most consumer drones are suitable for hobbyist projects, they often come with a limited flight time that can be extended by carrying extra batteries. But, this approach can be inconvenient, especially when it comes to larger projects that require uninterrupted flight time. In such scenarios, an enterprise drone would be a better option.
These drones are specifically designed to provide significantly longer flight times and are built to handle more demanding projects. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a surveyor, an enterprise drone can help you get the job done with ease and efficiency. Here are enterprise drones with the longest flight time:
1. Skydio X2 (35 minutes)
Skydio X2 is the first on our list, and it offers effective fuel management facilities. It is important to keep in mind, though, that surveying drones typically fly over open spaces. Even the best drones would require a little more battery power to stay afloat and run their sophisticated sensors when obstacle detection is considered.
This model has a 35-minute flight time but can fly easily without significant issues. This is the rationale behind the widespread use of Skydio products in public safety and search and rescue operations.
2. Autel Evo II Series (40 minutes)
The Autel Evo II Series is a versatile drone that captures stunning aerial footage. The series includes the Evo II, Evo II Pro, and Evo II Dual, each with different camera options.
The Evo II features a 4K camera with a 3-axis gimbal stabilization, while the Evo II Pro and Evo II Dual have 8K cameras with 3-axis gimbal stabilization. All the models have a range of up to 6.2 miles and a flight time of up to 40 minutes. They also have advanced features such as obstacle avoidance, ActiveTrack, and Hyperlapse.
The Evo II Series also comes with Autel’s Smart Controller, which makes it easy to control and view the drone’s camera in real-time. Additionally, the Evo II series has a unique feature called Autel Explorer, which allows you to fly the drone to a specific location and explore the surrounding area.
Overall, the Autel Evo II Series is an excellent choice for a high-quality drone with advanced features and capabilities. They are perfect for professionals, enthusiasts, and hobbyists alike, as they offer great value for money and they are very user-friendly.
3. SenseFly eBee Classic (50 minutes)
The senseFly eBee Classic is a professional drone that is specifically designed for mapping and surveying applications. It has a high-resolution camera that captures detailed images and a GPS system that provides precise location data. The eBee Classic is also equipped with senseFly’s patented automatic flight control technology, which makes it easy to fly and map large areas quickly and efficiently.
Additionally, the eBee Classic has a flight time of up to 50 minutes and can cover up to 12 km2 per flight. The eBee Classic is also equipped with senseFly’s eMotion flight planning software that allows you to easily plan, simulate and execute your missions.
Overall, the senseFly eBee Classic is an excellent choice for professionals looking for a reliable, efficient, easy-to-use drone for mapping and surveying applications. It is a perfect fit for those working in the field of Agriculture, Construction, and Surveying.
4. DJI Matrice 300 RTK (55 minutes)
The DJI Matrice 300 RTK is a heavy-duty enterprise drone with many advanced features for professional use cases. It has a 6-rotor design that provides stability and durability in challenging environments.
The Matrice 300 RTK is equipped with a triple sensor system that includes forward, downward, and upward obstacle avoidance sensors, which makes it easy to fly in complex environments.
It also comes with the DJI RTK module that provides centimeter-level accuracy in positioning and navigation, making it ideal for industrial inspections, surveying and mapping, and search and rescue operations. Additionally, the Matrice 300 RTK has a flight time of up to 55 minutes and has a maximum payload capacity of 3kg, which allows you to mount a variety of payloads such as thermal cameras, lidar sensors and more.
Overall, the DJI Matrice 300 RTK is an excellent choice for professionals looking for a heavy-duty and advanced drone that can handle demanding projects and provide high-accuracy data.
5. SenseFly eBeeX (90 minutes)
The senseFly eBeeX is also a drone that is designed for mapping and surveying applications. It is equipped with a high-resolution camera and a RTK/PPK GPS that provides centimeter-level accuracy in positioning and navigation.
The eBeeX is also equipped with senseFly’s patented automatic flight control technology, which makes it easy to fly and scan large areas efficiently. Additionally, the eBeeX has a flight time of up to 90 minutes and can cover up to 1,200 acres per flight.
The eBeeX is also equipped with senseFly’s eMotion flight planning software that allows you to easily plan, simulate and execute your job. The eBeeX also features obstacle avoidance sensors, making flying in complex environments easy.
As drones are becoming popular, their features are improving. One of the most significant features is their flight time. Many factors affect the flight time, such as the battery, weather conditions, drone weight, etc. Drones used today for commercial use have an average flight time of about 30 minutes. In this article, we went through many examples and what you need to pay attention to when it comes to drone flight time. I hope that this article has helped you.