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Want to know how far a drone can fly from the controller? Looking for a silent drone for long range and stealthy surveillance? For 2017 we have identified all those quad-copter drones claiming extraordinary range (and a bonus fixed-wing drone). Compare claimed quad-copter drone range in miles, learn how each drone uses its own approach in pursuit of longer range, and watch each long range drone in action. If you like the look of our contenders, be sure to request a range and flight time demonstration before you hand over your hard-earned. Welcome to the world of extended range drones!
Quietest Long Range Quadcopter: Airborne Drones Vanguard
The standout feature of the Vanguard from Airborne drones is silent operation above 500 feet. The Vanguard achieves this by using large slow spinning propellors. Apart from spinning slower, which generates less noise, larger propellors generate a lower frequency sound, which is better camouflaged by background noise. With a stunning 94 minute flight time and 22 mile range, the Vanguard is the ultimate tool for stealthy and prolonged long-range video surveillance. The only disadvantage of the huge capability is a price tag of $40,000. However, for those users that need to avoid detection, this is the obvious choice. Check out flight footage from the Vanguard below, including footage from an onboard thermal imaging sensor. If you want to make your own drone quieter or even silent, check out the options in our Silent Drone Technology guide.
Find out more HERE
Best All-round Long Range Quadcopter: Embention NM&-M600
The ready-to-fly M600 from Embention boasts an impressive set of specifications; 26 miles of range, 60 minutes flight time and an operating speed of 50 mph. With dimensions of 3 x 3 ft and a maximum take-off weight of 14 lb, the M600 is less than a quarter of the size and half the weight of the giant MD4-3000 from Microdrones (see below). The M600 uses a lightweight, foldable and and compact carbon fiber design, allowing for easy transport.
The M600 can be fitted with multiple payloads including a real time video system, a thermal imaging camera or a mapping camera. However, payload capacity is limited to 4 pounds due to the lightweight carbon fiber structure. An M600 with a video link will set you back $14,000 – opt for the thermal imaging camera and that rises to $24,000. By no means a cheap long range drone, the M600 is competitively priced for its capability.
Find out more HERE
Longest Range Quadcopter: Microdrones MD4-3000
The MD4-3000 from german maker Microdrones boasts a range of 30 miles making this the top long range drone available. Measuring an enormous 6.5 x 6.5 ft, the MD4-3000 is also the largest quadcopter drone available. The MD4-3000 can fly at altitudes of up to 13,000 feet and can carry a sensor payload of up to 11 pounds (including FPV equipment) with a maximum take-off weight of 33 lb. The aerodynamic carbon shell protects the MD4-3000 from rain, dust and extremes of temperature. The MD4-3000 can maintain flight for 45 minutes with an operating speed of 45 mph. Microdrones touts the lower costs and noise of the MD4-3000 compared to traditional manned aircraft. Watch the MD4-3000 in action below.
Find out more HERE
Longest Range Fixed Wing: Intuitive Machines Tiburon Junior
The Tiburon Junior from Houston-based company Intuitive Machines has specifications far beyond that achievable with a quad-copter drone – an astonishing 300 mile range, 40 hours flight time, 92mph speed, 18,000 feet altitude and 20 pound sensor payload capacity (with up to 600w power available for sensors). Customer specified sensor packages may include laser (LIDAR), thermal, or optical imaging. Intuitive Machines have targeted the Tiburon Junior to serve the commercial/civilian markets with US military Group 2 capabilities (but not at military prices). The Tiburon Junior has a 9 foot wingspan, weighs up to 55 pounds, is launched by catapult and captured by net (if necessary, wheels can be fitted for more conventional take-off and landing).
The Tiburon Junior was originally designed to replace the radar-outfitted-manned-aircraft used to measure changes in the polar ice caps, but because it can easily swap out sensor packages, it’s now used to inspect agriculture, pipe-lines, power-lines and mines. The creator’s of the Tiburon Junior now want to showcase its amazing capabilities by toppling the UAV world record for continuous air time (54h, 27m) with a goal of 60 hours. To request more information about the Tiburon Junior click HERE. To compare the Tiburon Junior to other fixed-wing drones, download the Beyond Line-of-Site (BLOS) drone list HERE.
Request more information HERE
Highest Altitude Quadcopter: DJI Mavic Pro
The Mavic Pro can reach an altitude of 3 miles (16,000 feet), with a range of 4.3 miles, a flight time of 27 minutes and a top speed of 40 mph. High altitude is achieved thanks to lightweight, miniaturised and fully integrated sensors, giving the Mavic Pro a higher thrust-to-weight ratio than larger drones that have to provide payload capacity for heavy custom sensors.
The largest sensor is the gimbal camera, which can transmit 1080p footage (30-fps/160ms-latency) to the pilot and follow a ground target. Other sensors include a sonar system, which allows the drone to sense and avoid objects within 50 feet. The Mavic Pro weighs only 1.5 lb and can fold to 8 x 3 inches, which means it can be easily transported in a small backpack. At $1,000, the DJI Mavic Pro is also the most affordable long range drone in this group. Watch the Mavic Pro in action below.