Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Drone altitude is an important consideration when choosing the specifics of a drone, depending upon your own preference for purchasing one. Drones are designed with a maximum ceiling capacity.
So, can a drone fly over Everest?
No, not really. The most commercially bought drones have an average maximum ceiling height of 4000 m-6000 m, which is still about 4000 m short from the summit of Everest.
Keeping in mind here we are not talking about Everest Base Camp. Then you need an equation that spells out what lift that drone puts out at sea level at a specific temperature and humidity.
Then you need a ratio for the temperature, humidity, and air density that you will have on Everest on the day you fly there. Even with that you have not taken up slope ridge lift into effect if there is a wind and there is no equation for that.
All heights for drones are quoted as above sea level. If you live naturally in the mountains at 1000m above sea level and fly a drone at 100m from the ground, the drone is flying at 1100m above sea level.
This is because air pressure lowers as you gain altitude.
Table of contents:
How High Is Everest?
The most commonly quoted height of Everest is approximately 8,848 mtr (29,035 feet), recognized by China and Nepal.
The base camp of Everest is at 5,364 metres, so the climb is actually around 3500m once you get to the South base camp.
How High Can a Drone Fly?
When talking about commercially purchasable drones, I’ve taken the 5 most popular from the market and put them in the table below.
The average height drones can fly should be from 80 mtr-1000mtr depending on the model of the drone.
Keep in mind the battery life of drones is critical when we talk about flying them. If you talk about range it also differs according to the model of the drones.
The Best Altitude Drones:
There are drones and then there are high altitude drones. It really depends on your use. Here are some examples of some of the best drones.
|DJI Phantom 4 Pro||6000m|
|DJI Mavic 2 Pro||6000m|
|DJI Inspire 2||5000m|
|DJI Mini 2||4000m|
|DJI Matrice 300 RTK||5000m|
DJI Phantom 4 Pro:
If you want to take cool photos from a very high altitude, you’ll love the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, which achieves up to 6000 meters (about 20,000 feet).
And you’ll not only get to a high altitude, but you’ll also maintain this altitude thanks to the upgraded stability. It also comes with all-directional obstacle avoidance systems and a high quality 4K 60 fps camera for the best shots.
The 30-Minutes flight time is also not that bad considering the power a drone needs to get to that height.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro:
This is another excellent drone for taking videos and photos from high up in the sky. Like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, it has a 20,000-feet take of altitude.
Mavic 2 Pro also has a range of up to 8 Km, making it possible to transmit real-time footage at that distance. You also get to take perfect shots thanks to the 20 MP resolution and a 2X zoom.
DJI Inspire 2:
The DJI Inspire features incredible stability, a 16,000-feet altitude limit, and a 27-minute flight time. While it may seem less powerful than the DJI Phantom 4 Pro and Mavic 2 Pro, it has a 6K resolution which ensures you get every detail from a high altitude.
The 7-Kilometre range makes it possible to stream videos when up there, while the 94 KM/H makes sure you can get up there and fly back before the battery gets depleted.
DJI Mini 2:
This might be a small drone, but it beats most drones when it comes to the maximum altitude. It has a 13,000-feet max altitude and a 31-minute flight time.
Thanks to OcuSync 2.0, this drone manages a 10 Km range while streaming high-quality videos.
You get to shoot high-quality images and videos thanks to the 12MP 1/2.3-inch COM Sensor, 4Kvideo quality, and 4X zoom capabilities.
DJI Matrice 300 RTK:
The DJI Matrice 300 RTK is a professional-grade drone designed for survey tasks. It comes with a 16,000-feet max altitude which is enhanced by the 15 KM transmission range.
It also features a 55-Minute flight time which is great considering the others can only achieve a 30-minute flight time. And that’s not all. The Matrice 300 RTK is also IP45 rated for weather protection.
You can fly it when it’s snowing or raining without it getting damaged.
NOTE: As you can see, the more expensive professional drones can reach an above sea level altitude of 6000 m, but more realistically, you are looking at around 3000 m as a ceiling height.
Most people fly drones about 200 to 300m above their own position, so if your location is 1000m above sea level, the drone itself is flying at 1300m above sea level.
As a drone flies higher, there are other factors like the wind to consider, which a drone needs to be capable of combating
Problems Occur As Drones Reach Higher Altitude:
There are no major problems with drones reaching high altitude, but people do confuse altitude with control range.
Higher altitude drone flying takes some practice and skill, so I wouldn’t recommend it until you have a firm grasp of the basics of flying.
In addition, drones will be dangerous in the snow, fog, and rain (particularly with lightning), so those conditions generally will be no-fly weather. High and gusting winds also are problematic.
Another problem reaching high altitudes is ascent speed. The DJI Phantom IV drone is a good model of drone. It’s ascent speed is 6 m/s.
To put that in perspective, if you were at base camp and needed to reach the summit of Everest with the drone, excluding the problem of maximum ceiling it would take nearly 10 minutes to ascend to the summit.
The specs say it has a flight time of 28 minutes, but hard use will reduce this considerably.
A lot of users say it is much less, and thus it will take a great deal of time to get to the summit. If power runs out before it gets there, it may well return to base as a safety precaution.
That’s also excluding the high winds, and otherwise unfriendly conditions to get a drone over Everest.
National Geographic’s Expedition:
While it may be impossible to fly over Mt Everest, National Geographic managed to do it in 2020. When filming the Lost on Everest documentary, National Geographic partnered with Mark Synnott and Renan Ozturk (both climbing experts) to look for Andrew “Sandy” Irvine’s body.
The story of this climber dates back to 1924 when Andrew Irvine and his counterpart Leigh Mallory decided to climb Mt. Everest. However, none of them came back.
And even though Mallory’s remains were found, Irvine’s body has never been found. National Geographic decided to collect more data in an attempt to establish what happened to him. But since accessing some parts of the Mountain is Risky, they utilized a drone and managed to fly the drone up to an altitude of 28,030 feet.
To manage this expedition, Renan Ozturk used a modified DJI drone. He also worked with DJI to remove the altitude and range restrictions.
They also adjusted how fast the drone can descend to beat the strong winds. This wasn’t the first try, though. They had tried and failed several times. At the top of the mountain, there are strong winds, snow, low temperatures, not forgetting the drone’s limited battery power.
As you can see, they had to modify the drone greatly to manage to fly over Everest. This proves that a standard commercial or toy drone can’t survive flying at this altitude.
What Is the Highest Drone Has Ever Flown?
In 2016, a European drone enthusiast broke the World record by flying a drone up to 11,000 feet above the ground.
He was flying a DJI Phantom drone and only managed to spend about 3 minutes before he had to fly the drone back before the batteries could get depleted.
Such an altitude is dangerous, considering planes fly within that altitude. The drone pilot was highly criticized for this stunt and even had to pull down his video from YouTube since it would encourage others to do the same.
What Is the Range of an Average Drone?
The drone range varies from 500m to 8000m. You can safely fly your drone to a distance of about 500m and still keep your drone in your line of sight.
For advanced drones, be sure to have your return to home point set, return to home altitude set accordingly, activate the setting to return to home on a loss of signal.
Battery life is a factor that many drone manufacturers are still trying to nail down. Some drones can only fly for six to eight minutes, while more powerful ones can last up to 30 minutes.
Let’s say from Everest base camp (5335m) to the summit (8848m), professional drones like the DJI Mavic mini or DJI Mavic 2 Zoom will take 30 minutes to reach that height.
Every country has different laws when it comes to flying drones. You should always check the rules depending on the country you are flying drones.It is illegal to fly the drone over the Nepalese sky without permission.
So, if you’re planning to fly your drone around or over Everest, you need to understand the laws in Nepal. For starters, you can take your drone to Nepal, but it is illegal to fly the drone over the Nepalese sky without permission.
Like in most areas, you should fly your drone within a visible range, and you should avoid flying close to Military barracks, airports, and other restricted areas.
You may get away with flying drones lighter than 1 Kg, or flying in open, unrestricted areas, but you still need to get a permit to fully utilize your drone.
There are some rules and regulations to follow by the drone operator while flying. Trekking Trail Nepal will help to get permits to fly a drone as possible in all Trekking in Nepal as Everest Base Camp.
Click HERE if you want to read more about the legalities of flying a drone in Nepal.
In the United States, the FAA limits the flying altitude to 400 Feet, while it’s 500 feet in the UK. But you can obtain a waiver to fly higher as long as it’s within safe airspace.
Some drones come with altitude limits adhering to these rules. For instance, the DJI Mini and Mini 2 are restricted from flying above 15 Meters in India. While you can bypass these limits in most drones, it’s illegal and could land you in trouble.
So, the answer is no. A multitude of factors make it unreasonable for the commonly bought drones to make it to the summit of Everest.
The main factor is ceiling height, but unfriendly weather conditions, such as wind sheer make control a lot more difficult and the flight time to reach the summit from base camp alone, could well drain the average battery.
Flying drones itself is an experience, and it can be more than an experience if we can fly over the summit of Everest.
The commonly found drones in the market can be used for aerial photography and videography and if you are buying for your kids, it can be just for fun.
As it happens, the highest mountain the the continental US is Denali in Alaska. This has a summit height of around 6200m. So even most professional drones would struggle to get over this.
Luckily, the second highest peak is called Mount saint Elias, also in Alaska. That summit is around 5500 m, so in theory a reasonably priced home drone should be able to take some stunning video photography, assuming battery life, and wind conditions are optimal.
So if you want some video photography with your drone, better head up North.
Although Mount Whitney in California is a paltry 4421m so that one should be easy.
Flying drones can be dangerous enough, if you aren’t practised in the art, so firstly you need to make sure you do not endanger anyone’s life or liberty with your flying.
Learning the rules and regulations that surround the hobby is critical to get the maximum enjoyment from the sport.
How high is Mount Everest?
The most commonly quoted height of Everest is approximately 8,848 mtr (29,035 feet), recognized by China and Nepal.
How high can a drone fly?
The average height drones can fly should be from 80 mtr-1000mtr depending on the model of the drone. Keep in mind the battery life of drones is critical when we talk about flying them. If you talk about range it also differs according to the model of the drones.