When talking with drone pilots, many will say they can only fly up to 400 feet. Why? What is so special about 400 feet? And what does 400 feet even look like?
400 feet is the maximum altitude the F.A.A permits a sUAS (small unmanned aircraft system), or drone, to operate at so as not to interfere with other aircraft in the sky. This keeps drones a safe distance away from airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft systems and helps prevents collisions.
What does 400 feet look like?
Your next questions are probably, “well, how high even is 400 feet? What does it look like from up there?”
We sent our pilot to the field to show you exactly what 400 feet looks like. We captured aerial photos from a range of heights to compare how the different altitudes look and to put 400 feet into perspective.
Here you can see a baseball diamond captured at 50ft, 100ft, 150ft, 200ft, 300ft, and 400ft.
Here is the same location looking horizontally at the landscape.
And here is what a residential property looks like.
Is 400 feet high enough for my project?
As you can tell from the photos, 400 feet is plenty high enough for a wide variety of drone projects, including residential real estate, commercial real estate, construction progress updates, and more. It provides a wide view of the land below and an excellent view of the landscape and terrain. In fact, for some projects it may even be too high. Often times our pilots rarely need to go to the 400 foot limit, and can instead capture great aerial imagery much closer to the subject. Flying at or close to 400 feet remains best for commercial real estate projects where the client wants to show off large buildings or properties.
Is it possible to fly above 400 feet?
The next question: is it possible to fly above 400 feet? The answer is yes. Drone pilots are allowed to fly 400 feet above the top of the tallest structure within a 50 foot radius of their operation. So to fly above 400 feet, a pilot would need to be standing near a reasonably tall structure, such as a building or cell tower.
How to stay within the 400 foot limit.
For drone pilots, it is important to respect the F.A.A. regulations and keep their sUAS operating below 400 feet. We recommend setting an altitude limit of 390 feet to make sure your drone stays within the operating limits. Fortunately, setting an altitude limit for all DJI Drones within the DJI Go 4 application. To set an altitude limit, launch DJI Go 4, enter your device, tap the 3 dots in the upper right hand corner, tap on the drone icon at the top, scroll down to Set Max Flight Altitude, and enter in your desired limit. Keep in mind the units are in meters. We recommend setting a max flight altitude limit of 118 meters, or close to 390 feet. You can always change this limit if you are flying near a tall structure.
We hope you found this information helpful! If you’d like to learn more, please check out some of our other drone photography tutorials, or simply follow dronegenuity on our social media channels: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates.