how high can drones fly?

How High Can Personal Drones Fly?

Drones are becoming a more common and popular addition to your home; the only question is how high can drones fly? Many people are confused about what it means for their and their drone’s safety. Drones are designed for lower altitudes, so you should stay at the legal altitude for drones if you want to keep safe. There are a couple of things that you should consider when flying personal drones. Moreover, if you think you can always fly a drone above and beyond, that is not the case. 

It would help if you understood that they have certain guidelines and laws for drones everywhere you go. These laws include the altitude limit, the speed, and the areas where you can and can’t fly your drones. Another thing that you should keep in your mind is your drone’s specifications. Every drone comes with a certain range that you can not surpass. 

However, you can use signal boosters to increase your drone’s range, but even that has limitations. Therefore, your drone’s specifications also determine how far up you can go. So, if you want to know how high personal drones can fly, continue reading this guide as we are here to save the day for you.   

FAA limitations for drones that fly high

FAA stands for Federal Aviation Administration. They take care of the safety of drones. In 2016 they issued the rules for the height limit of the drone, limiting them to fly at a certain height. They also take care of every other aspect of piloting the drones.

This FAA set of rules says that it is important for you to have a drone license to pilot it. And to get that license, it is important for you to study the entire FAA rules list. Moreover, they also determine the areas that are banned for you to fly the drone in, like the military base and airport zones.

They are basically the air police for personal drones and will charge you with fines and confiscations if you don’t obey the law.

How high can personal drones fly?

The laws and limitations of piloting personal drones vary from place to place. However, many places follow the same set of rules. But it is important to learn about the laws regarding drones wherever you are.

If you are a US resident or just a visitor who wants to pilot the drone, flying above 400 feet can get you into trouble. There is an FAA 400 foot rule that you have to follow at any cost.

The same is the case in many other countries and areas. This raises the question of whether there are any exceptions, but we will get on that later in this guide.

What Happens If I Fly My Drone Over 400 Feet?

As we all know, birds are not the only thing that flies in the sky. There are manned aircraft that we need to consider as well. Before the 400 feet rule, many incidents were recorded where the drones closely encountered crewed aircraft. And when I say a ton of incidents, I mean more than 900, which is a lot, and it’s dangerous.

To understand more about the specific 400 feet limit, you need to know that human-crewed aircraft are allowed to fly at 500 feet and above in the sky. Anything below is restricted except when it is in the airport zone. And just to add a little more information, you should know that personal drones are completely banned in the airports’ zone to avoid any crashes and dangerous encounters.

When the height limit proposal was initially given, the chosen limit was 500 feet, which was later reduced to 400 feet to keep a safe distance between the aerial devices. This law is very important to follow not only for your safety but the safety of others as a manned aircraft is not something you should risk as the lives of hundreds of people can depend on it.

Plus, if you fly above 400 feet, you will have to pay a fine as well as there is a chance that your drone will get confiscated. Besides, you will be playing with the life of the passengers in any manned aircraft flying near you. 

Can you go above the FAA altitude limit?

The answer to this very question is Yes and No. I mean, it is not advisory to fly over the altitude limit, but you can still do that in certain situations. Two of such situations include whether you can surpass the normal 400 feet limit if you are in a mountainous area.

But that is just because the drone will start counting the altitude from the mountain, which is already above the city’s ground level. Understand it this way if you compare how high your drone is in the sky from a plain and from a mountain, the altitude will be higher from the mountain. The altitude meter starts from the land you are standing on, i.e. the earth.

Now that does not mean you go on the fourth floor in a city and fly your drone, thinking this will let your drone fly higher. The altitude meter will also calculate your distance from ground level and not from the floor on which you are on of the building.

Secondly, you can apply to FAA to allow you to fly higher. You can only avail this option if you have a commercial drone and want to use it for commercial purposes. If you are an architect or a civil engineer and you want to inspect a building that is tall enough that your drone will go above 400 feet, there is a chance that FAA will allow you under such conditions. 

Can you fly a drone near a major league sports game?

That’s a question that many sports fans ask who want to cover such events using a drone. Unfortunately, the answer is no, as per the FAA laws and regulations. The FAA laws forbid any drones flying near any sports zone, including the major league sports games, for safety purposes.

According to them, they do this to protect the audience present in these games from any unintentional and intentional crashes. So it doesn’t matter what altitude video drone is. It’s a big no. Thus, your best option is to stick with your cameras and cellphones if you really want to record near these areas.

Well, this is where modern drones come in handy. FAA plays a vital role for every drone pilot; therefore, it also affects the drone-making company. So, by keeping everything under consideration, new drones come with a built-in altitude limiter which prevents them from surpassing the 400 feet limit.

Now there is bad news, too, that now even if you have the FAA’s approval to go beyond the limit, your drone’s specifications will not let you. However, some options in the market will allow you to turn this feature off, but if you want a drone for commercial purposes, it is advised to get a commercial drone as they are more flexible for such situations.

How high can DJI drones fly?

There is no one answer to this question. Some DJI drones can fly up to 5,000 meters, while many DJI drones come with different specifications and ranges. Like the DJI Mini comes with a maximum altitude limit of 3000 meters. Now, if you compare it with the 400 feet limitation, obviously, this is a lot more than that. But keep this in mind that DJI measures the altitude from sea level and not ground level. That is why it sounds a lot more than the FAA threshold.


When you are a personal drone pilot, everything you do with your drone should revolve around the FAA guidelines if you want to stay out of trouble. Whether it concerns the altitude limit or banned areas, you should always keep these laws in your mind. Different drones in the industry come with different specifications, including various flight ranges, altitude range, speed, and much more.

All you have to do is try on things you think best suits your needs and work from there. Moreover, if you want a drone that can work around the FAA laws, go for a commercial drone and for commercial purposes only. That way, you can apply for a limit extension and some other relief in law so that you can do your job efficiently. We hope this guide will help you stay safe and out of trouble while enjoying piloting your drone.

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