The DJI Mini 3 Pro Max Altitude

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is a powerhouse drone recently released by DJI. It is incredibly small, lightweight, and has premium features that you would see in much more expensive and larger drones.

Many people get excited by new drones and want to push them to their limits. In this article, we will have a look at the DJI Mini 3 Pro Max altitude and how it changes based on the battery and accessories used.

According to DJI, the maximum flight altitude can be set to 500 m above ground level. However, when the intelligent flight battery is installed, the maximum service ceiling is 4000 m (13,123 ft) above sea level.

Using the intelligent flight battery plus the maximum service ceiling drops to 3000 m (9843 ft). And, if a propeller guard is installed on the aircraft and you have the intelligent flight battery installed, the maximum service ceiling drops further to 1500 m (4921 ft)

Maximum Service Ceiling vs Max Altitude

Many people get confused between the maximum service ceiling and the maximum altitude, so I think it’s important to distinguish between them.

Here is a quick rundown of the two terms and what they mean.

  • The maximum service ceiling of a drone is how high the drone can ascend relative to sea level.
  • The maximum altitude of the DJI drone is how far the drone can fly above ground level, and DJI has allowed you to set that to a maximum of 500 m.  

Even though a drone can fly relatively high, it is important to note that in many countries, the maximum legal height for a drone to fly is 120 m (400 feet) above ground level.

Flying higher than the maximum service ceiling means the drone will become very unstable and use much more power to hover. Many of the issues that arise from flying a drone too high comes from the fact that as you increase in altitude, the air’s quality and properties change significantly.

The drone model dictates how well the drone can operate in low-pressure environments found at high altitudes.

If you want a drone that can hover stably at much higher altitudes, check the list in the section below.

Maximum altitude limits of other drones

DJI drones offer a maximum service ceiling above sea level of up to 6000 m.

Considering the size of the DJI mini 3 Pro, the maximum altitude is very impressive as much bigger drones are only able to fly about 1000 m higher than the Mavic Mini 3 Pro.

Here is a comparison of all of the most popular DJI drones and their maximum service ceiling.

DroneMaximum service ceiling metres (feet)
Mini 3 ProWith intelligent flight battery: 4000 (13,123)
with intelligent flight battery plus: 3000 m (9843)
with intelligent battery and propeller guard: 1500 m (4921)
Mavic Air 25000 (16,404)
Mavic Air 36000 (19,685)
Mavic Air 2S5000 (16,404)
Mini 24000 (13,123)
FPV6000 (19,685)
Mini SE3000 (9843)

 

You will notice that the larger drone models have a much higher service ceiling due to their much higher motor powers.

Of course, the maximum service ceiling is unlikely to be reached during normal operation because the software setting limits the maximum altitude height of the DJI Mini 3 Pro.

Maximum altitude height limit

DJI drones come with a safety setting that can limit the maximum height limit from your takeoff altitude for safety reasons.

By default, this maximum altitude height limit is set to the common legal limit in many countries of 120 m or 400 feet.

The maximum flight altitude setting can be increased to a maximum of 500 m for safety reasons.

You can change the DJI Mini 2 Pro Max Altitude limit in the DJI fly app. This modification can be done before and during the flight 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 during flight

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 can legally fly.

Changing this setting to higher than the legal limit will mean you risk breaking the laws in your local jurisdiction.

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

DJI Mini 3 Pro Max Altitude Hack

You can remove the 500 m maximum altitude limit by updating your drone’s firmware.

There are a group of hackers that are dedicated to removing all of DJI’s restrictions and you can find more about this community 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) and eliminate any geo-fencing restrictions.

Flying at the service ceiling?

There are several reasons you may want to fly close to the service ceiling of the DJI drone. These reasons include scenarios where you must fly in the mountains, including rescue and unique photography missions.

In one example – published in the scientific literature – a consumer drone was able to locate a mountain air after he and his climbing partner were separated whilst climbing the world’s 12th highest peak – Broad Peak in the Karakoram Mountains of northeastern Pakistan.

In this rescue, a DJI Mavic Pro drone was used to fly up to 8400 m which is well above the maximum service ceiling of 5000 meters listed in the drone specification.

Not only did the drone go up to an incredible height, the wind was approximately 40 km/h, and the ambient air temperature was -10 degrees Celsius.

Once the victim was found, the drone could hover in till the victim acknowledged the drone’s presence with a wave. The victim had enjoyed 36 hours at 7600 m, near the death zone due to the high mortality rates caused by the thin air.

This rescue mission is an excellent example of how high a drone can fly to carry out a flight mission. However, flying in high altitudes does have a certain impact on the flight and safety of the drone

What happens at the DJI Mini 3 Service ceiling?

The air quality changes dramatically as you go to higher altitudes with your drone.

The main issue with a drone flying at high altitudes is that the propellers must still be able to force enough air downwards to produce lift. Because the air is much thinner, there is less air to force downwards, and the propellers must work harder to keep the drone in a stable hover.

Lift is proportional to the density of air at a particular altitude. As the altitude increases, the density of the air decreases, causing the motors to work harder.

A typical helicopter can compensate for this thin air by increasing the blade’s pitch. In contrast, a drone cannot change the pitch of its blade and therefore increase its operational ceiling.

When the blades of the drone can no longer produce lift, the drone cannot climb any higher, and, in aviation, this point is called the maximum service ceiling.

The dangers of flying above the maximum altitude

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.

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.

Low stability

Because each movement the drone makes depends on the propellers moving air, the fewer air molecules available to move, the harder it is for the drone to fly.

This manifests as stability issues where the drone has a slow and sluggish response to joystick movements.

Humidity

Humidity changes significantly as you fly higher. The relative humidity can become greater as you gain altitude because you enter areas in which clouds are forming.

But, generally, it becomes less as you ascend to higher altitudes. Most of the water vapour is at lower altitudes.

As you are flying your drone higher and higher through varying humidity, you run the risk of having water condensate on the electronic components of the drone as well as on the inside 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 the drone to automatically switch to a return to home safety procedure that can leave your drone lost on the side of the mountain.

Wrapping up

In this article, we have discovered the maximum altitude of the DJI Mini 3 Pro and determined the difference between the maximum service ceiling and the Max altitude setting in the Fly App.

You can remove the software limitations given to you by the DJI app by updating the firmware to a third-party version but you cannot surpass the maximum service ceiling as the height the drone is able to reach is dictated by physics.

Always fly with care when you are flying at high altitudes as the drone can be much more sluggish to respond to joystick movements and can be much more unpredictable.

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!