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Dec. 2016 Vol 22 # 12 . DJI Phantom 4 Drone Flights to Test Range

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Range Testing with the DJI Phantom 4 Drone

By Howard Berenbon

In the two latest tests I took my DJI Phantom 4 Drone to its limits, first 1100 feet and then 1500 feet. But, actually, the drone has been tested to travel up to 3 miles and back. Getting the drone to the 3 miles or more down range depends on several factors. If you fly line of sight with no obstructions, no power lines or cell towers, that distance can be attained.

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1100 Feet Range Test

This was my first flight of my DJI Phantom 4 relying on my iPad display. I flew to the edge of Drake Sports Park off of Drake Road (see video). When it reached Drake the controller signal was going in and out, but moving the controller antennas in the park direction improved signal reception back to normal. However, when I tried to return the drone manually, I did not think it was responding fast enough so instead of wasting time, I pressed the Home Button on the controller. And in just about minute it was flying above me. I didn't think I was in danger of losing it because of the safeguards, but acted quickly to get the drone back home. It was very neat to fly the Phantom using the video display. I recorded the session, about 7 minutes, so you can see it turning at the point that I pressed the Home button. Just prior to taking off, recorded the GPS location, which is called Home, or its starting point. So, if anything happens like a low battery or complete loss of signal, the drone is programmed to climb to a safe height (100 or more feet, which you can modfy) and then it will to the Home coordinates. Once in sight you can take control, or it will land on its own.


Phantom 4 HD Camera set at 1080P
Sports Action Camera, 4K 1080P, 12MP

1500 Feet Range Test

My DJI Phantom 4 Drone flies to 1501 feet range from GPS Home and approximately 300 feet height. This was the longest distance reached so far since flying the drone. In the last flight it reached 1100 feet before it had controller reception problems and I hit the Home button. I was flying towards Drake Sports Park, which has cell towers. The towers likely affect the reception. However the Phantom 4 can go as far as 3 miles when conditions are right: line of sight in an open area without interference from other transmitters, power lines or buildings in the area. This flight was over a wooded area and line of site. I manually returned the drone when the video started breaking up slightly, but I did not lose transmission. In my next flight, if weather permits, I will try to reach 1800 or 2000 feet. For now, 1/4 mile range was very good, and the video returned was excellent.

Video Editor: Adobe Premiere Pro CS6


DJI Phantom 4 HD set at 1080P
Sports Action Camera on baseball cap, 1080P, 12MP

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