How Drones are Controlled

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated June 27, 2022

The best drones are those that experienced remote pilots use. It’s easy to gain the experience you need in the field by staying current on drone technology. If you’re a drone pilot looking to expand your understanding of drone controllers, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find out how drones are controlled.


  • Drone manufacturers will include a remote control with your drone so that you can start using it right out of the box.
  • A drone pilot will use a remote controller to communicate with their drone and tell it how to move, whether they’re using single- or multi-rotor drones.
  • There is a difference between consumer and commercial drones, and how they communicate might differ, especially if it’s a military drone.

Understanding Drone Communications

Whether you have single- or multi-rotor drones at your disposal, you’ll want to know how they work and how they communicate. We’ll be going over exactly that in this article, but the next question would understandably be how you control drones or how to calibrate a drone. You’ll need to understand both of these to become the best drone pilot possible.

Insider Tip

You can get great HD videos using drones with cameras, especially if you purchase advanced drones made for creating a video feed.

Systems for Remote Control

There is a ton of technology that comes packed into drones. Understanding these systems is crucial to enjoyable flight time for any drone pilot, whether you’re looking into rotors or electronic speed controllers.

Your unmanned aircraft doesn’t have to be a mystery, and it’s easy to learn how drone remote controls work. If you’re ever in a pinch, learning how to charge a drone battery without a charger can also come in handy.

Drone Radio Controller

Most popular drones for consumer usage work the same way. Personal drones operate through a remote pilot using a remote control unit. Most models come with a controller included. These personal drones communicate with their remote controllers using frequencies that range from 900 MHz to 5.8 GHz. The frequency your drone uses depends on the model and type.

Ground Control Station

There are many different types of drones out there, and commercial drone pilots have slightly different systems for controlling how their drone moves. How military drones work, for example, is often completely different from other types.

Some advanced commercial and consumer models use a ground control station. This is usually a software program installed on a computer that helps control and track a drone as it flies using wireless telemetry.


Always be aware of manned aircraft in the area before you fly your drone and any laws regarding flying near airports.


What is UAV technology?

UAV stands for “Unmanned Air Vehicle.” This refers to any unmanned aircraft. UAV technology simply refers to the technology behind these amazing machines.

Should I shop for drone controllers?

Generally speaking, your drone will come with a remote controller. You shouldn’t have to purchase one separately unless yours breaks or you’re building a DIY drone.

What frequency do most consumer drones use?

Most consumer drones will operate on a frequency ranging from 900 MHz to 5.8 GHz. There are some exceptions to this, but it is relatively standard for radio-controlled drones.

How far can a drone fly from a drone controller?

That depends almost entirely on the type of drone that you’re using. Commercial drones will have a vastly more extensive range than most consumer options.

STAT: The number of drones in the U.S. for recreational flying has reached around 853.8 thousand units. (source)

Beth Huston Profile image