Table of Contents FAQ about High Altitude Drones Best High Altitude Drones For Sale DJI Phantom 4 Autel X-Star Premium Yuneec Typhoon H Hubsan X4 H502S Ionic Stratus Conclusion about High Altitude Drones
Many people think that flight range and altitude are the same. But just because your drone can fly 300 meters away from your remote doesn’t mean that it can fly 300 meters straight up in the air. A drone has to be specifically built to work at high altitudes.
How does it work? Well, thanks to a huge boom in the commercial drone market in the past few years, drones are cheaper than ever to manufacture and to purchase. This means that they can be made extremely light, which allows them to gain a high altitude quickly. More importantly, the motors can be made very light without losing too much power, which gives the quadcopter the thrust it needs to hold those high altitudes and makes the propellers go fast enough to maintain its height.
There’s lots of applications for high altitude drones – from photography to construction to simple recreational use. We’ve compiled a list of the five best – each one tested and vouched for by the Dronethusiast staff. Whether you’re an experienced pilot looking for advice or a first-time user who doesn’t know where to start, this list is sure to help you find the high altitude drone that’s right for you.
FAQ about High Altitude Drones
What are drones?
A drone is simply an unmanned aerial vehicle. The most common drones are quadcopters, which simply means that they have four propellers. Drones are usually controlled with a radio transmitter (just like an RC car), but more recently may also be controlled with a mobile device via WiFi.
Why would I want a high altitude drone?
There’s lots of reasons, but high altitude drones are mostly used in aerial photography or videography. Drones are a cheaper alternative to helicopter or airplane shots. Because they’re lightweight and most of the models on this list have 6-axis gyroscopes, they’re also extremely stable – often moreso than a cameraman hanging out of an helicopter can be. And finally, small drones can take footage of places that traditional aerial photography can’t reach. This is why high altitude drones have been used in major motion pictures like Skyfall and Captain America: Civil War.
What are some non-photography uses for high altitude drones?
Drones are often used in construction to monitor the project site and for mapping and modeling tasks. High altitude drones are also very useful for roof inspections, as we wrote about here. And for recreational fliers, it’s just fun to point the drone straight up and see what it can do.
How high can a drone fly?
Depends on the drone, as we’ll get into below. The record for the highest drone flight ever was a DJI Phantom 2 that was taken up to 11,000 feet. Please note that flying that high is illegal – without a waiver, you can only fly up to 400 feet in the US and 500 feet in Europe. Much higher than that, and the drone can seriously hurt or even kill someone if it falls – not to mention the fact that it may collide with an aircraft.
(Note that we’re only talking about consumer drones here – military drones operate very differently.)
Do I need to register my drone?
It depends where you’re located. If you’re in England, yes. In America (as of 2017) you usually only have to register your drone if you’re using it commercially – that is, if you’re using it in some capacity that makes money. You also have to meet specific pilot and aircraft requirements. It’s best to look up your local laws and regulations and make sure to comply with them.
Best High Altitude Drones For Sale
Here’s five of the best high altitude drones for sale on the market today. Obviously the main factor that influenced a drone’s placement on the list was how high the drone could get and how stable it was at high altitudes, but we also factored in other considerations. There’s no “one size fits all” in the modern drone market, and we want to make sure you find the altitude drone that’s right for you.
#1 – DJI Phantom 4 Pro
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is widely considered one of the best – if not the best – drones on the market in every category. It’s not just that it can climb to 6000 meters in altitude (though it’s limited to the legal limit of 400 feet without a waiver.) It also has incredible five-directional obstacle sensing, which is very important at high altitudes where you’re likely to run into things you can’t even see. It’s also very, very stable and has an incredibly high-quality camera that’s perfect whether you’re taking photos or keeping an eye on a construction site. All in all, it’s hard to “top” the Phantom 4 when it comes to high altitude drones for sale (get it?)
Tech Specs: 5350 mAh 15.2V LiPo battery 1 hour and 20 minutes approximate charge time Weighs 14 pounds Wingspan is 350 mm 3-axis gimbal 8 channels Plastic
Obstacle sensing system (OSS) means that the drone is smart enough to steer itself away from buildings and other obstacles. High quality camera takes HD video in 120 frames per second. New gimbal keeps the drone stable in almost all weather conditions.
It’s difficult to set up and the manual is missing some assembly instructions The battery only lasts 28 minutes in the best conditions, which makes it difficult to film long scenes The OSS has difficulty recognizing trees that don’t have a lot of branches or leaves.
#2 – Autel X-Star Premium
The Phantom 4 is great all around, but the Autel X-Star Premium is one of the best camera drones for the money. It has a 4K camera and can take video in Ultra HD, displaying an HD live view to your mobile device from up to 1.2 miles away so that you can see exactly what you’re filming. The X-Star Premium can also go about 1,000 meters in the air and most of its features focus on remaining completely stable. And all this for only about $800 – much cheaper than the DJI flagships.
Tech Specs: 14.8V LiPo battery 1 hour and 30 minutes approximate charge time Weighs 3.2 pounds 25 minutes of flight time 3-axis gimbal 8 channels Plastic
Extremely cheap considering the amount of features on offer Gorgeous 4K photos and videos Live HD feed that remains stable from 1.2 miles away makes it easy to keep track of what you’re shooting.
Only 25 minutes of flight time makes it difficult to film long scenes No obstacle detection
#3 – Yuneec Typhoon H
The Yuneec Typhoon H can supposedly go up to 1000 meters in the air, but its operating range is only 800 meters, so you won’t be able to control the drone beyond that. That’s still pretty impressive. Like the X-Star Premium, the Typhoon’s main feature is a 4K camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal, but where it really sets itself apart is its ability to take slow-motion footage in 120 FPS. Also, unlike the two entries which precede it, the Typhoon is designed to require no previous experience to fly.
Tech Specs: 2 hours approximate charge time Weighs 12 pounds 25 minutes of flight time 3-axis gimbal 8 channels Plastic 4K wide-angle camera with a full 360 degrees of motion
High-quality video, excels at slow-motion footage GPS stabilized flight control, 5 Rotor Fail-Safe, 8 smart flight modes, and 1-touch takeoff and landing mean that the drone can be flown even by pilots with no prior experience.
The number of features on offer probably won’t justify the $1300 price for experienced fliers. The drone is large and inconvenient No obstacle detection
#4 – Hubsan X4 H502S
The Hubsan is on this list not because it can go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Phantom 4, but because it’s the best high altitude drone for those on a budget. For only $180, you get a 720p camera for photography and videography that streams live to a 4.3 inch display built into the controller, which makes it very handy for roof inspection jobs and similar tasks. You also get a highly durable brushless design, some handy flight features like headless mode, a GPS-based “Follow Me” mode, and 20 minutes of flight time per battery, which is absolutely unheard of at this price point. If you’re looking to take to the skies without breaking the bank, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than the X4 H502S.
Tech Specs: 30-40 minutes approximate charge time Weighs 2.7 pounds 20 minutes of flight time 720p wide-angle camera 4 channels Plastic
The best high altitude drone available for less than $200 Good for beginners to pick up and learn
Missing several of the key features of other drones on this list Not recommended for professional photography or important construction work because of the low-quality camera and lack of safety features.
#5 – Ionic Stratus
If the H502S is still too expensive for you, the Stratus is an excellent low-end high altitude drone for sale with a wide array of features. It can reach an altitude of 80 meters. That may not sound like much when compared to the rest of this list, but it’s still high enough that you’ll barely be able to see it. It also doesn’t come with a built-in camera – you’ll have to buy a GoPro separately and attach it. However, this is still a stylish and highly durable beginner drone that can reach incredible heights and stays stable with a 6-axis gyro system that’s pretty rare in drones under $100. It also has a 1-button 3D roll function, which is always fun to see.
Tech Specs: 150 minutes approximate charge time Weighs 3.8 pounds 10 minutes of flight time Action camera mount 3 channels 6-axis gyro Plastic
The best high altitude drone available for less than $100 Easy for beginners to pick up and learn to fly Extremely stable flight thanks to being one of the few cheap drones with a 6-axis gyro
Missing several of the key features of other drones on this list Does not include a built-in camera or any way to stream a live feed while recording, making it all but worthless for any monitoring tasks
Conclusion about High Altitude Drones
Thanks for reading our ultimate guide to the best high altitude drones for sale. Whether you’re ready to take your photography for the next level – literally! – or are just looking for a great toy to play around with, we hope we’ve helped you find the quadcopter that’s right for you. If you have any questions, or if you’ve got a great altitude drone that we missed, please leave a comment below!
5 High Altitude Drones for Sale – [Winter 2017] Best Long Elevation Drones was originally posted at https://www.dronethusiast.com/high-altitude-drones-for-sale/ by
8 tips for flying a drone in cold weather
Drones whiz and whip through the air at breakneck speeds. Unfortunately, these cool machines weren’t designed for cold weather. It’s not the friendliest condition for them, but with some preparation beforehand, you can capture the beauty of rolling winter landscapes from a bird’s-eye perspective.
Before flying, read your drone’s user manual. Most quadcopters are designed to fly in a temperature range of 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Flying outside that range may put your drone at risk. But if your drone can handle the cold conditions, then read on — then get flying!
1. Beware of ice
The arch-nemesis of all helicopters and planes, ice endangers drones too. Ice accumulating on the propeller blades, alters the weight distribution, hurting the drone’s ultimate aerodynamics. Cold air over warm water causes evaporation, and this evaporative fog will refreeze on surrounding surfaces, including on the drone’s surface.
2. Know how cold affects battery life and sensors
Colder temperatures shorten the flight time of your drone by slowing the chemical reaction with the LiPo batteries and lowering the battery capacity. A fully charged drone that typically will last between 20 to 25 minutes in flight, could fly for just 10-15 minutes in colder weather. Extreme cold weather can cause an unexpected power drop, and while it’s rare, there have been cases where batteries fail completely.
Cold weather dulls the drone’s sensors which can cause the drone to drift or have less response from the control input. In addition, cold fingers or gloves make controlling the input more difficult.
3. Practice good battery health
When flying in cold weather, understanding how to make your battery go further can be to your advantage.
Keep your batteries warm. Hover after the takeoff. Maintain a full charge on your batteries. Go light on the throttle. Bring a portable charger for the mobile device.
After takeoff, hover between 10 to 12 feet for 30 to 60 seconds to bring up the battery temperature, giving the motors and batteries a chance to warm up. The ideal battery temperature for a drone is about 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Most drones provide you with a method to check the temperature of your batteries.
Related read: How to care for your LiPo batteries
Be aware of how heavy control inputs will tax the battery life of your drone. Full throttle demands a heavy battery current, which can cause a drop in voltage. In general, don’t tap the full throttle button until the first few minutes of flight have passed. In addition, lower the heavy control inputs because this extends your flight time. Finally, never drain the battery. Normal weather conditions mean you try to maximize your flight time. When it’s biting cold, however, this practice risks your drone. You will want to fly it until the battery has dropped 30 or 40 percent. After that, you will want to bring the drone back to earth. If you want more air time, pack a couple spare batteries.
4. Watch out for precipitation
Most drones cannot withstand precipitation, and the moisture can damage or short out the motor, gimbal, or camera. If rain or snow occurs while your drone is in flight, land as quickly as possible, then dry the propellers and the body.
5. It’s not just cold — it’s climate too
It’s not just about cold — but climate too. Flying in Vermont where the winters are cold but “dry” means you don’t have to worry as much as if you were in a cold and wet climate with more humidity, like Minnesota. If that’s the case, check for icing regularly and try not to fly through winter fog.
Moisture within the gimbal becomes problematic when you add ice and snow and melting. As the props start to spin and blow slush and snow, launch the drone from a sheet of plastic or from the carrying case.
Also, condensation can arise when you take your drone from the outside to the inside. To alleviate that problem, let it warm up slowly in the basement or in the trunk of the car.
6. Use hand warmers on your drone
To keep the drone’s batteries warm, consider putting hand warmers on them. NEVER put them directly against the battery as it lets off heat. Instead, wrap the batteries in a scarf or a glove and put the hand warmers around the batteries.
7. Understand altitude
In areas of increased altitude, propellers have to spin faster to keep flight, which means the battery will drain itself faster — also contributing to shorter flights.
8. Don’t forget about you!
While it’s important to keep the drone safe from the cold, don’t forget yourself too!
Buy specialized gloves for flying in the winter to keep your movements with the controls limber. Spyder gloves are consistently ranked among the best gloves designed with conductive material for handheld touch screen devices.
-By Jake Carter
8 tips for flying a drone in cold weather was originally posted at http://thedronegirl.com/2018/01/02/drone-cold-weather-tips/ by Guest Post
How fire departments are using drones to save time and money
The following piece is a guest post from Dronefly’s Alex Netto.
From burning buildings to brushfires, firefighting drones equipped with thermal cameras can see through smoke and darkness to identify where the hotspots are and where the crew is.
With a drone, a Battalion Chief can quickly make an assessment of a situation from all angles with optical and thermal cameras from which the best decision on how to proceed can be made. Drones are the future of assisting public safety officials do their job more efficiently and more cost effectively.
Drone site Dronefly has put together an infographic highlighting the top firefighting drone use cases.
Here are some of the use cases for drones in fire departments:So what do fire departments or other public safety agencies need to do to operate a drone? Here is some of the most popular gear used by fire departments:
-By Alex Netto
Alex Netto works on the marketing team for Dronefly.com located in Los Angeles, California he enjoys drone photography (instagram @bradthedrone) and running marathons. He hopes to see the fast adoption of drones into industries ranging from public safety, inspection, agriculture, surveying, and mapping.
How fire departments are using drones to save time and money was originally posted at http://thedronegirl.com/2017/12/28/fire-departments-using-drones-save-time-money/ by Sally French
Drone Laws in Colorado
Paying attention to everything the FAA has put forth since their rules and regulations were initially put into full effect is crucial for all drone fliers. Are you aware of the laws and regulations related to drones in your state, as well?
Flying Over Colorado
Unfortunately, it would seem that the only areas drone users in Colorado are able to fly legally are up in the mountains and smaller areas. A lot of areas are unclear as to whether or not drones are allowed.
Thankfully for drone enthusiasts living in Colorado, it’s legal to fly your drone in the Colorado Rockies, specifically in the highest point. Mount Evans is a whopping 14,240 feet in the air and one of the best places in the entire state to get some footage.
White River National Forest’s own Hanging Lake area is legal, apparently, as well! It’s a beautiful mountain lake that offers crystal clear waters flowing from the incredible waterfalls. Perfect for quick shots!
The Registering Process in Colorado
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) owners follow strict regulations and laws. You will need to file your name, home address and your email address as a start.
From there, you will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration and Proof of Ownership. These will include an identification number for your aircraft. You must have this number displayed on your drone at all times. The number will be valid for up to 3 years.
All aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 pounds, or 250 grams, and less than 55 pounds, or 25 kilograms, must be registered. This also includes any added payloads, such as an onboard camera.
You must be at least 13-years-old in order to register and, effective December 21st, 2015, all newly purchased or made drones must be registered before their first flight. You are able to register through a paper-based process, but you can also do so online by clicking here.
Proximity to Airports in Colorado
As a general rule of thumb, and in accordance with the law from the FAA, you may not fly within a 5-mile radius of any airport. In 2012 the FAA enacted the Modernization and Reauthorization Act which requires hobbyist drone operators, meaning residential, to contact air traffic control and/or airport management if they are operating within a 5-mile radius of any local airport.
This is enacted nationwide, not only in Colorado, under Part 101 of the Act, being Special Rule for Model Aircraft, to ensure that drone operations under unsafe conditions are disapproved before the drone can be launched.
Regardless of the local airport you will be flying near, and possibly breaching airspace, you will need to contact either the airport air traffic control tower or the airport operator.
You will need to establish an agreed-upon operating procedure with airport air traffic or the airport operator and answer a couple of questions. For example, questions relating to how long you are going to be flying for.
Unique Drone Laws in Colorado
At this time of writing, all of the legal information listed below is deemed as accurate as possible and fully in effect.
Code of Colorado Regulations 406-0 #004 – AIDS IN TAKING WILDLIFE
C. It shall be unlawful to use a drone to look for, scout, or detect wildlife as an aid in the hunting or taking of wildlife.
For the purposes of this regulation, drone shall be defined as including, without limitation, any contrivance invented, used or designed for navigation of, or flight in the air that is unmanned or guided remotely. A drone may also be referred to as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” (UAV) or “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System” (UAVS).
Municipal Law – Town of Telluride
During a recent council meeting, the Town of Telluride adopted multiple regulations regarding drone use. As of April 18th, 2017, the proposed ordinance has been put into place as a law.
Any drone users looking to fly must first have approval from owners of private property where the flight will take place or from the town itself. Endangering both people and wildlife and operating a drone in a reckless manner is strictly prohibited. They must also keep their distance from any wildlife or people who are not involved in the flight operation directly.
Drone users must also ensure that they are not under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any controlled substance in general. They must also not have any preexisting physical or mental conditions that may interfere with flying safely.
Municipal Law – Cherry Hills Village
Cherry Hills Village has enacted a law that requires all drone users to follow guidelines and regulations set in place by the FAA and by registered with the FAA.
Drones are prohibited from flying over public buildings, trails, public parks, public streets, and any area that is deemed to be city property.
Drone Ban in Local Ski Resorts
There are a number of ski resorts located across Colorado that have placed a ban on drone use, which you can inquire further on by clicking here.
Other Legal Issues With Drones in Colorado
At this time of writing, there are currently a number of bills in circulation within the state of Colorado surrounding drones.
Municipal Regulations – Town of Breckenridge
The proposed ordinance would allow local authorities to enforce FAA regulations and address interference with firefighters and local law enforcement, voyeurism and reckless operation. It also includes having a deadly weapon or firearm equipped on the drone, interfering with any government emergency operations whatsoever, and using a drone for surveillance that has not been permitted by law.
Drone users will be unable to takeoff, land, or operate in general on any property owned by the town. Prohibited by law, if approved, annoying or harassing wildlife, in general, will also be included.
Further, it would also ban drone flight over restricted areas, such as the Carter Park Dog Park, Cucumber Gulch Preserve, the local golf course and the Nordic center if golfers and/or skiers are present.
HB 15-555 Trespassing & Harassment
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING PRIVACY IN REGARD TO EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced and does not reflect any amendments that may be subsequently adopted. If this bill passes third reading in the house of introduction, a bill summary that applies to the reengrossed version of this bill will be available at http://www.leg.state.co.us/billsummaries.)
A person commits the crime of first degree criminal trespass if he or she is not a peace officer or other agent of a state or local government agency acting in his or her official capacity and he or she knowingly and intentionally uses an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to observe, record, transmit, or capture images of another person when the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
A person commits harassment if he or she is not a peace officer or other agent of a state or local government agency acting in his or her official capacity and, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she uses a UAV to track a person’s movements in or about a public place without the person’s authorization.
The bill amends existing law concerning the retention of passive surveillance records by government agencies to contemplate the retention of records that are obtained through the use of UAVs.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. In Colorado Revised Statutes, add 18-7-802 as follows:
18-7-802. Criminal invasion of privacy by the use of a device – penalty.
EXCEPT AS DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2) OF THIS SECTION, CRIMINAL INVASION OF PRIVACY BY USE OF A DEVICE OCCURS WHEN A PERSON KNOWINGLY AND INTENTIONALLY CAPTURES ANY PHOTOGRAPH, SOUND RECORDING, OR OTHER PHYSICAL IMPRESSION OR DIGITAL IMAGE OF ANOTHER PERSON, WITHOUT THAT PERSON’S CONSENT, IN A SITUATION WHERE THAT PERSON HAS A REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY, THROUGH THE USE OF ANY DEVICE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THERE IS A TRESPASS, IF THE PHOTOGRAPH, SOUND RECORDING, OR OTHER PHYSICAL IMPRESSION OR DIGITAL IMAGE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED WITHOUT A TRESPASS UNLESS THE DEVICE OR ANOTHER DEVICE WAS USED.
SUBSECTION (1) OF THIS SECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO A PEACE OFFICER OR AN EMPLOYEE OR OTHER AGENT OF A FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY ACTING IN HIS OR HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY.
CRIMINAL INVASION OF PRIVACY BY USE OF A DEVICE IS A CLASS 3 MISDEMEANOR.
SECTION 2. Act subject to petition – effective date. This act takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the expiration of the ninety-day period after final adjournment of the general assembly (August 5, 2015, if adjournment sine die is on May 6, 2015); except that, if a referendum petition is filed pursuant to section 1 (3) of article V of the state constitution against this act or an item, section, or part of this act within such period, then the act, item, section, or part will not take effect unless approved by the people at the general election to be held in November 2016 and, in such case, will take effect on the date of the of the official declaration of the vote thereon by the governor.
At this time of writing, this bill is still up for enforcement.
HB 16-1020 No Drones Near Airports or Jails
A person commits introducing contraband in the first degree if he or she knowingly and unlawfully operates any unmanned aircraft system (UAS) within 5 miles of a detention facility with the intent to introduce or attempt to introduce a dangerous instrument, alcohol or an alcoholic beverage, a controlled substance, or marijuana or marijuana concentrate into the detention facility.
A person shall not operate a UAS:
Within 5 miles of an airport unless the person is authorized by the airport’s air traffic control tower;
In a manner that interferes with the operation of manned aircraft;
More than 400 feet above the earth’s surface;
In a manner that is prohibited by any federal law or rule;
In violation of any temporary flight restriction (TFR) or notice to airmen (NOTAM) issued by the federal aviation administration (FAA); or
In the airspace directly above any detention facility.
A person who violates any of these prohibitions commits a class 1 misdemeanor. These prohibitions do not apply to the operation of a public UAS operated in compliance with any current and enforceable authorization granted by the FAA.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)
FAQ on Colorado Law and Drones
If you do not see your question, or an answer to it, listed below, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll gladly give you one.
Is a drone/UAS considered the same as a model aircraft?
The United States Congress has defined and concluded that a model aircraft is only considered a drone or a UAS when the following points are met:
It’s flown for recreational purposes or as a hobby and not for any business or commercial reasons
It’s flown within visible distance, meaning being able to see it at all times, of the individual operating it
It’s capable of sustaining flight within the atmosphere, meaning that it can fly
If your model aircraft, regardless of whether or not you acquired it pre-built or built it yourself, meets the above points to your knowledge, it’s considered a drone/UAS.
What is the Small UAS Rule?
The Small UAS Rule requires those who have unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, that weigh less than 55 pounds, payload included, to register their aircraft with the FAA. This only applies to recreational or hobby fliers and not commercial drone use, however.
Is the FAA’s Small UAS Rule still in effect?
Yes, it has been in effect from August 29th of 2016 and is still in effect at this time of writing.
Do I have to carry my Certificate of Aircraft Registration while flying my UAS at all times?
Yes, you must have the registration certificate from the FAA at all times during flight operation. In accordance with federal law,
Drone Laws in Colorado was originally posted at https://www.dronethusiast.com/drone-laws-colorado/ by