What Happens When Your Drone Runs Out of Battery

Drone Runs Out Of Battery While in the air

Have you ever ask yourself what could happen to your drone if the battery runs out of energy while you are flying? So if that happens, can your drone (quadcopter) land safely, and can you do something to save it?

For someone who thinks to invest in any type of drone this is the question that people want to know the answer. If drone loses power in mid air, it will crash into the ground! Even the most experienced pilots that use drones usually have battery problems and how to estimate how much time they have in the air.

Most crashes are actually caused by battery voltage drop. You must know that it is your legal responsibility to ensure that your drone lands safely to the ground, therefore don’t take off if your battery is half empty.

Unpredictable Factors While Flying In Mid Air: First thing you need to know is that the battery status and the screen you have on the remote control are not always accurate. Even I had one case with my drone where I had like 2 min time of flight time (with status of 18% battery), and 30 sec later, my remote control gave me a notification: low voltage alert, and then the drone started to fall down. 

On my luck the drone was only at 30m in the air and there was no people down. And after such situations you are afraid to go flight over people again, because you don’t know will that happen again. There is huge risk flying your drone with low battery, because they will not slowly drift to the ground when their power gets down, but they will simply stop and drop from the sky. 

How to Prevent Your Drone to Runs Out of Battery In Mid Air

Most crashes are actually caused by battery voltage drop downs and that can really hit each and every one out there. It may happen that you have a battery of 30% and suddenly battery went down to 8% immediately.

Voltage on your battery could drop in a second for 2 reasons; because it’s cold outside or the battery is damaged and your drone will just fall out of the sky. So here are some tips to make sure you don’t get some voltage dropouts. So you need to always check your batteries. Check your batteries to make sure they’re in good condition. 

Don’t fly with old batteries, just make sure that your batteries are good. Leave older batteries at home completely and in battery shows swellings or other damage you should even retire it completely. That they’re holding a charge like they should be in normal conditions. I recommend buying a new battery if the old one is worn out or damaged.

How The Helicopters Solved This Problem While They Are in The Air

If something happens to a helicopter while they are in the air, or he runs out of fuel, they have a security solution that is called autorotation.

Autorotation is a condition where the rotor blades are being driven by an upwards flow of air, rather than by engine power. The blades rotate automatically. It gives a helicopter pilot the ability to have a controlled glide to the ground if an engine does fail. The drones that are on the market don’t have the autorotation state because of their fixed-pitch rotors.

Also, auto rotation is not a possibility for commercial drones. To have auto rotation, the rotors must be variable pitch in order for auto-rotation to become possible. Every drone that have fixed pitch design of the rotors will not be capable of auto-rotating.

Related Article: Best Way To Discharge Drone Batteries For Travel

How Long Can Batteries Last?

Regardless of whether the battery is used or not, the battery performance deteriorates over time. Lifetimes of 500 to 1200 cycles are typical, which is approximately 6 years of use.

When we talk about ageing process, it continues with the same rate as before so if the cell capacity falls to 80% after 1000 cycles, it will probably continue working to approximately 2000 cycles also.  The most likely cause of battery failure of a battery is abuse, subjecting a battery to conditions for which it was never designed.

Drone With Longest Flight Time 2019

Model:Range:Flight Time:
DJI Mavic 2 (Available on Amazon) 7000m27 min
DJI Phantom 4 Pro (Available on Amazon) 7000m 27 min
Parrot Bebop 2 (Available on Amazon) 2000m21 min
Yuneec YUNH920 (Available on Amazon) 1500m 25 min

How Long Can a Drone Fly?

Drone flying time is very limited and most of the drones have average 15-30 minutes flying time. The most common reasons why batteries on drones are so short is that motors that drive drones require a lot of energy. Cheap drones can  fly only for 5 -10 minutes. Secondly, when energy is transferred in to or out of these batteries, heat is generated. Heat is a wasted energy from the batterie, and it is not good for battery because it reduces battery cycle life.

When choosing a battery for the Drone, the main thing we should look at are features such as capacity, safety, long duration and price. Batteries can have a long life characteristics, high capacity, high power, deep discharge, quick charge or other defined parameters. What’s important is battery capacity. 

Drones should choose the best battery that can store the most energy per unit of mass (Wh/kg). Lithium is the lightest of all metals, has the highest electrochemical potential and offers the highest specific energy by weight.

Cycle Life of Battery

This can be considered as one of the main parameter for displaying the battery life. When we talk about cycle life of a battery, we mean the number of charges and discharges that a battery can carry out before its capacity drops below 80% of baseline.

This number of charging and discharging cycles in the battery also depends on the storage factor, as the temperature and load mode of the battery, because it also play a big role in how long the battery will last. Ideal conditions are the best way to increase the cycle life of a battery.


So if something happens in the air while you are flying a drone, such as your drone runs out of battery there is a greater chance that it would be the last flight with it. We also mentioned that helicopters who runs out of fuel while they are flying have a security solution that is called autorotation, while drones do not have this option because of their fixed-pitch rotors.

The important thing to consider is that drones flying time is very limited and most of the drones have average 15-30 minutes flying time. Remember that it is your legal responsibility to ensure that your drone lands safely to the ground, therefore don’t take off if your battery is half empty. If you have any interesting questions or I left out something, feel free to comment below.

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