What Happens When a Drone Goes Out of Range?

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated June 27, 2022

Even if you have one of the best drones on the market, you will eventually find out they have a limited flight range. No matter the drone model, there is always a limit to how far they can go before losing the signal. So, exactly what happens when a drone goes out of range? Well, stick around because that’s exactly what we’re talking about today.


  • If you have a consumer drone, you’ll have an extremely short range compared to other models, such as police drones.
  • Cheaper drones will always have a smaller flight range when compared to more advanced models.
  • If your drone goes out of range while on its flight path, you’ll lose control because it’ll be disconnected from your drone controllers.

What Happens When a Drone Loses Signal?

Many problems can pop up for drone pilots if they lose their drone signal. It doesn’t matter whether they’re affordable drones or expensive models; they all have a set limit on how far they can be from their controller before problems arise.

If you’re curious to learn more, asking, “What is the range for drones?” is a great next step.

Your Video Feed Will Drop

If you have expensive drones, you might be using them for video transmission. If you go out of range, you won’t be able to continue receiving video directly from a live feed.

Insider Tip

Adding an antenna to your drone can increase its range.

However, most cheap drones don’t have to worry about losing a video signal because they don’t usually have a video feed. The problem is more common in commercial drones. For more information, look into what police drones are used for.

Your Drone Controllers Won’t Work

Your drone controllers have a reasonably limited range unless you have specifically invested in long-range drones. If you go beyond the range allowable for your type of drone, you won’t be able to control it anymore.

How to Avoid Going Out of Range

First, making sure your firmware is up to date is crucial. From there, make sure that you have more than enough battery life for your flight. An antenna will also help extend your drone range.

You can do several other things to help extend your drone range. If you want to know more about increasing it, we have a great article on how to increase drone range. Also, if you’re out of range because you’re having trouble keeping track of the drone’s orientation in flight, read up on what a headless mode on a drone is.


Anybody with a drone app can see that you’re flying a drone, so be sure you’re following your locale’s laws and regulations.


Can drones return to their home on their own?

Only some drones are capable of returning home if the signal is lost. GPS drones will set a “home” wherever they take off and come back if you lose signal.

What do you do if your drone is out of sight?

If you lose sight of your drone, don’t panic. Instead, start walking in the direction that it is heading. Keep trying to test your controller to see if it has come back into range yet.

How can you tell you’re going out of range?

You’ll be able to tell pretty easily when you’re starting to lose touch with your drone. For one thing, the controls will become far less responsive.

Will a drone regain signal as it gets closer?

That depends greatly on the type of drone that you’re using. If it’s the type that can return home on its own, you should try to regain control as soon as it is back in range.

STAT: In 2019, consumer drones wholesale sales in the United States were estimated to amount to 1.2 billion U.S. dollars. (source)

Beth Huston Profile image