DJI Air 2S height limit [and max altitude hacks]

The DJI Air 2S is a fantastic drone with plenty of features that will keep the drone relevant for several years. Some people want to fly their DJI air 2S as high as possible, and the Air 2S height limit is limited to a maximum service ceiling due to the physics and power of the motors.

According to DJI, the Air 2S can reach a height of 3.5 miles (5 km) as its maximum service ceiling above sea level. However, in many countries, the maximum legal height to fly a drone is 400 ft (120 m) above ground level.

The maximum distance you can fly your drone away from the remote controller also plays an important role in how high you can fly and how far away from the remote controller you can get.

The important maximum specifications for the Air 2S performance are shown below in the table.

Max Ascent and Descent Speed6 m/s (S Mode) 6 m/s (N Mode)
Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level5000 m
Max Flight Time (no wind)31 minutes
Max Hovering Time (no wind)30 minutes
Max Flight Distance (no wind)18.5 km
Max Flight Speed (near sea level, no wind)19 m/s (S Mode) 15 m/s (N Mode) 5 m/s (C Mode)
Max Wind Speed Resistance10.7 m/s

Based on the data above, you will notice that the DJI Air 2S is a very capable drone with three modes that change its maximum flight speed.

Remove DJI height limit

Removing the DJI height limit can be achieved in the fly app in a couple of places. You can change the height limit of the DJI drone before flying and in the safety settings.

Before flying

  1. Tap the aircraft status indicated next to the flying mode on the top left corner of the camera view screen.
  2. This selection will open up your maximum altitude, flight distance and return to home altitude.
  3. Use the sliding bar to set the maximum altitude to whichever height you wish.

Safety setting

In the safety settings, you can also set your maximum altitude using a slider.

  1. Click the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the app to open the overflow menu.
  2. Open the safety tab to select your maximum altitude.

Most people use this setting to limit the maximum height they are legally allowed to fly. Changing this setting to higher than the legal limit will mean that you risk breaking the laws in your local jurisdiction.

The maximum altitude is capped at 30 m during flight training and when you are not logged into the DJI Fly app.

Resetting the home point

Some people find that the maximum height limit limits their ability to fly up hills and mountains higher than 120 m.

If you wish to fly higher than the 120 m or the altitude you set in the fly app, you can reset the home point as you fly up the mountain.

Be aware that if your drone does a return-to-home manoeuvre, it will fly back to the new home point. Just be careful not to go over the peaks of the mountain, as you will lose connection if you cannot maintain a direct line of sight with the drone – initiating a potentially catastrophic return home to a random point you have selected during the ascent.

There are a community of people hacking their DJI drones, and you can be the altitude and other settings utilising third-party software.

Air 2S maximum altitude hack

Drone hackers have formed a group dedicated to removing all of DJI’s restrictions.

More information on this community can be found at https://drone-hacks.com.

This company sells software that you can use to customise your DJI drone. You can adjust your drone’s settings (such as vertical ascent speed and maximum altitude tilt in normal and sport modes) as well as eliminate any geo-fencing restrictions. They offer a number of choices, including:

  • DJI custom flight controller – this disables the enforcement of no-fly zones and disables the altitude limits.
  • DJI no-fly zones – this will remove all of the no-fly zone databases from a supported drone model
  • FCC boost – this will change your drone from CE mode to FCC mode.
  • ADB root shell – if you are friends a company or a government institution and need to route the access to the drone this allows you to extract all of the data needed directly from the drone’s file system.
  • DJI flashing firmware – this allows you to upgrade and downgrade your DJI drone firmware easily
  • DJI parameters – this allows you to change hundreds of settings which have previously been hidden from you. You don’t need to use the debug mode in the DJI assistance you can simply change the parameters directly.

The legalities around this are a little bit uncertain but if you still fly within the regulations and rules that are imposed in your country you will not face any legal risks. However, the moment that you step outside of the rules and regulations you immediately open yourself up to a variety of risks.

Flying your drone too high and pushing the limits of the drone beyond the maximum service ceiling comes with various risks that we will discuss below. Click here to read more about it in my other article.

What is the risk of flying a drone too high?

Risk of flying your drone too high

Flying your drone too high means putting yourself at legal risk and damaging your drone due to stability issues and connection issues when flying at high altitudes.

Legal issues

I do not know anyone who has been charged or arrested for flying their drone in a place that doesn’t allow drone flight or if they break any local drone laws.

I have often witnessed a warning, but if you are a repeat offender or fly over government property, you can get into significant legal trouble.

In many countries, the legal maximum height you can fly is based on the minimum cruising altitude of manned aircraft. There is normally a 100-foot buffer between the lowest cruising altitude of the planes and the maximum you can fly your drone.

Ignoring these maximum altitude limits can put commercial airlines at risk.

Stability issues

your drone will become very unstable at high altitudes due to the lower air pressure.

As you fly higher, the air pressure reduces, meaning that your drone cannot displace enough air to remain stable.

You will likely see stability issues and the drone struggling to increase altitude.

Condensation

As you fly higher, the humidity changes dramatically. Because you visit places where clouds are forming, relative humidity might increase as you gain height. However, as you climb to greater elevations, it becomes less.

As you fly your drone higher and higher through fluctuating humidity, you run the risk of water condensing on the drone’s electronic components and the inner lens and camera.

Connection loss

A drone’s greatest flight distance from its controller is about 10 kilometres. DJI’s proprietary communication mechanism, OcuSync 2.0, is used for this.

This proprietary video transmission system outperforms Wi-Fi and other RF transmission techniques. Its key is that it employs far more efficient digital compression, allowing it to send high-definition video across great distances.

However, if your drone drifts over the edge of a mountain away from a direct line of sight you can quickly lose connection.

A loss of connection can cause flyaways and for the drone to automatically switch to a return to home safety procedure that can leave your drone lost on the side of the mountain.

High winds

Finally, you may notice a substantial difference in wind speed and direction from ground level when you rise to greater altitudes and fly your drone above the allowed limits.

The wind may be strong enough to easily knock your drone off course, and any updraught is very dangerous to drones.

Summary

In this article we have been over everything you need to know about the air 2S height limit and how to remove and hack the maximum altitude.

The drone can fly up to a height of 5 km, but the legal limitation in many countries and jurisdictions is that the drone cannot fly any higher than 120 m or 400 foot above ground level. This law stops the drone from coming into contact with commercial aircraft.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones. His favourite is still the DJI Mavic Air for the portability and functionality packed into a small and portable drone!