If you have thought about buying a drone, either for professional or recreational use, you will surely have many doubts about its operation. One of the first questions that are generated among the students of our drone courses who begin to familiarize themselves with this type of devices is “how high can a drone fly?”
This is a fact that you should know to avoid scares or fines, so that you can get the most out of your new acquisition. That is precisely why this time we will talk about the range of a drone in the different categories of use. However, as regulations can change, we recommend that you always refer to official sources and regulations.
What is the maximum height a drone can fly?
In order to comply with current regulations, it is not only important to know where you can fly drones, but it is also essential to know the maximum height and displacement limits that are allowed when performing this activity.
Drones are considered as aircrafts that move through the airspace, even though they do not carry any kind of crew. Therefore, maximum limits are established for the displacement of these aircrafts, so that their flight does not interfere with other vehicles circulating in the area.
So, what is the maximum height allowed in Spain to fly a drone? In general, the minimum flight height of airplanes is used as a reference, which fly above 150 meters. It is for this reason that it has been defined that drone flight is performed at a height of 120 meters, so that a space of 30 meters of separation can be left between the routes of manned aircraft and UAS.
Precisely to avoid this type of interference, no-fly zones are created, which include the areas near airports, since at these points airplanes are descending and collision conflicts with drones can be created. You can check where you can fly your drone in our blog and in ENAIRE Drones.
What is the range of a drone?
In addition to the maximum height at which a drone can fly, another important aspect to consider is its range, i.e. the distance it can travel from the pilot. The range of a drone can vary depending on the type of flight and the restrictions established by the regulations.
Likewise, each drone can have a different range depending on the transmitter and the type of receiver contained in the drone. There are drones with a range of up to 4 and 8 km, although if you are wondering how much range a specific drone has, we recommend you to read the instruction manual that comes with the device as it says it there.
In visual range flights (VLOS), the pilot must keep the drone within his direct line of sight at all times. According to the regulations, the maximum distance a drone can move away from the pilot in a VLOS flight is 500 meters. This is based on the consideration that this is the maximum distance at which a person can have an adequate field of view. However, it is important to remember that, in any case, it is not allowed to exceed the established maximum height of 120 meters.
There are other flight categories that allow the drone to have a longer range, as long as certain requirements are met and the corresponding authorizations are obtained. For example, in authorized flights performed by certified pilots, in specific areas and with the implementation of additional safety measures, distances of between 1 and 2 kilometers can be achieved.
It should be noted that the effective range of a drone may also depend on other factors, such as atmospheric conditions, signal interference and battery capacity. Therefore, it is essential to take all these considerations into account when planning and operating a drone flight.
How high can a drone fly in Spain?
In Spain, the regulations governing air traffic control and especially drone flight are based on current European regulations. That is why the maximum flight height of a drone in Spain will also be 120 meters.
This height will always be measured from the ground where the pilot is positioned, since it is the reference point for air traffic. Therefore, slopes or hills can be considered as reference points, but the maximum height limit cannot be considered if the pilot is positioned over a building or obstacle of great height.
At UMILES University we offer you the best drone pilot course in Madrid, so you can know in detail all the flight regulations and put into practice your skills within the maximum allowed distance.
Is it possible to fly a drone higher than 120 meters?
As a general rule, all drones must fly at a maximum altitude of 120 meters. Especially those flying in the open category, which includes drones classified in classes 0, 1, 2 and 3.
Although it is important to highlight that there are certain exceptions, which must be considered by the regulatory body and may be presented under strict authorization by the EASA, only in certain geographical areas and especially in emergency or high-risk situations.
Small elevations exceeding this height are allowed only in cases where a high elevation obstacle (exceeding 105 meters in height) must be strictly overcome, and under request of the entity responsible for the obstacle. Although in any case it must not exceed the airspace of airplanes, so an overflight above 30 cm of the established limits is not allowed.
For this type of situations, the most advisable is the use of drones classified in classes 4 and 5, since as a general rule they have detection systems, which allow the pilot to know the height at which the UAS is moving, and which can be programmable with maximum and minimum flight limits to avoid any type of collision.
How far can a drone fly?
It has already been made clear what is the maximum height at which a drone can fly. But if we consider the distance, it varies according to the type of flight allowed for each pilot. The most common are the VLOS flights, which are those included in the open category, in which the pilot must never lose sight of the drone.
In this case, the maximum distance at which the drone can be moved away from the pilot will be 500 meters, since it is considered that this is the maximum distance at which a person could have an angle of view. But in no case it is allowed to exceed the maximum height limit set at 120 meters.
There are other types of flights that allow between 1 and 2 kilometers, as long as the flight has been authorized, is performed by certified pilots and meets the requirements of observers strategically located at equidistant points. In any case, the best thing to do is to refer to the current and most current regulations.