There is no doubt that DJI drones are incredible to fly. The technology has come on so much that even the most beginner pilot can easily zoom around the skies within minutes of opening the box. However, no matter what your level of experience there are some conditions in which flying can be dangerous for you and the drone. The question is: what is a safe wind speed for DJI drones? In this article, we will look at all of the different wind speeds that certain DJI drones can withstand and also discuss generally the techniques used to fly in higher wind speeds safely.
DJI drones generally have a safe windspeed of between 8 m/s to 10.5 m/s (17.8 mph – 23.5 mph). To check for your specific model of drone this data is often quoted in the user guide and you can also find this number in the specifications on the drone manufacturers website.
At this speed DJI drones will suffer from the following limitations:
- the drone battery will not last as long – in particularly windy conditions DJI drones will quickly deplete their energy reserves combating the wind to maintain a fixed GPS location.
- The camera footage may not be as smooth – in gusty winds sometimes the drone is unable to counter act as quickly as required for smooth footage. Therefore you should consider whether or not flying at that time is going to give you the best footage – if that is your mission.
- Flying error bars will be higher – as your drone tries to combat the wind and the gusts of wind the drone will drift more than usual. This means that you should stay well clear of any overhanging obstacles which your drone may be inadvertently blown into.
Later in this article, we will talk about all of the best ways that you can ensure that your drone mission is safe and you do not cause damage to the drone. But, how windy is too windy to fly a drone?
How windy is too windy to fly a drone?
Anything above a force seven wind which is approximately 17 to 20 m/s (38 – 45 mph) is far too high to be flying a drone. As a rule of thumb for commercially available drones such as the DJI Mavic series and the phantom series you shouldn’t fly in winds greater than two thirds of the maximum flight speed of your model of drone.
This rule of thumb exists because your drone needs to be able to combat winds from a variety of directions and it gives a little bit of a buffer for not only combating the winds were also moving through the path in which it needs to fly.
Another way to look at this question – beyond the numbers – is to ask yourself do I feel safe while flying my drone? Sometimes you need to hover for a moment and not fly too far away whilst evaluating how safe you feel about sending your drone over a greater distance.
If at any time during the flight you decide that your drone is behaving erratically or that you are unable to control the drone against the wind I would immediately cancel the mission and conclude that it is far too windy to fly a drone.
In the first paragraph of this section I talked about a force seven wind. But what exactly is a force seven wind? Well, it is a universally accepted method of determining how strong a wind is and we shall explore that more in the section, below.
What is Level 4 wind resistance?
Quite often, drone manufacturers and DJI will quote the wind resistance of a drone in terms of a “level”. This level is known as the Beaufort scale and it is an empirical measure that relates the windspeed to the observed conditions whether at sea or on land.
The scale was derived in 1805 by a rear admiral on an Irish Royal Navy vessel. Here, in the table below, we have the levels of the Beaufort scale and the wind speed in metres per second which each level refers to. If your drone manufacturer quotes levels use this table to determine whether or not a drone would be suitable for the wind conditions that you experience in your local area.
|Level||Wind speed m/s||Wind Speed mph|
|1||0.5–1.5||1.1 – 3.5|
|2||1.6–3.3||3.6 – 7.4|
|3||3.4–5.5||7.5 – 12.3|
|4||5.5–7.9||1.3 – 17.7|
|5||8–10.7||17.8 – 24.0|
|6||10.8–13.8||24.1 – 30.9|
|7||13.9–17.1||31.0 – 38.3|
|8||17.2–20.7||38.4 – 46.3|
|9||20.8–24.4||46.4 – 54.6|
|10||24.5–28.4||54.7 – 63.5|
|11||28.5–32.6||63.6 – 72.9|
|12||≥ 32.7||≥ 73.0|
This scale takes the average windspeed but does not take into account the wind gusts. Before purchasing a DJI drone I would check your local weather information for the maximum wind gust that you experienced during a storm.
Personally, I have flown my drone in relatively windy conditions and the DJI GO4 app tells you that you are experiencing high winds and that you should land immediately. These high wind warnings are set at the lower end of the drones range so I have been known to ignore them occasionally. However, if you get them continuously throughout your flight you should not ignore them and land immediately.
How to fly in windy conditions
If you are set on flying in windy conditions there are some precautions you can take so that your flight ends safely. In this section will go over each of the things that you should consider if you insist on flying in windy conditions as long as the conditions aren’t above a force seven wind.
Choose a clear spot
When you are flying in windy conditions your drone will move more than usual. Even if you are a good drone pilot you cannot react as fast as you need to against particularly strong wind gusts.
When I have been flying my drone in particularly windy conditions I have heard the motors spool up quickly to try and combat any movement and they quite often aren’t able to combat against the wind entirely.
This means that it is very important to choose your takeoff and landing spot to be as clear as possible from any obstruction or trees. I mention trees in particular because in high winds trees are prone to shedding leaves and other debris which could get into the propellers of your drone and cause you significant issues while taking off.
Also, choose your takeoff spot so that it has no loose material on the ground. The downdraught of the propellers can quickly dislodge any loose leaves and dust and the enhanced wind will easily blow it through your propellers or across the body of your drone. If in doubt you should purchase a landing pad so that you know the landing spot will be clear and clean.
Use GPS stabilization
Make sure that your GPS it signal is strong and that GPS mode is turned on for your DJI drone. You may have heard of a mode called ATTI mode. This stands for attitude mode. In this mode the GPS sensors are disabled as well as the obstacle avoidance. The DJI drone will use an on-board barometer to maintain altitude and keep it level.
Sometimes, DJI drones will go into this mode if the GPS signal reduces below eight satellite signals. It can also be triggered if your drone has its forward and downward vision system affected by surfaces.
I can assure you that if your GPS signal is not strong and you try to fly your drone manually in high winds you are setting yourself up for a terrible time and an increased risk of crashing.
Before you take off make sure that your drone has at least 8 satellites and that it is not likely to drop below eight. A couple of times when I’ve been flying in a gully when I go to the bottom of the gully I lose GPS signal. In high wind conditions always make sure that you can see the sky clearly and without obstruction.
Turn off beginner mode
By turning off beginner mode on your drone you will be able to access higher speeds and advanced drone responsivity.
Drones sometimes have a beginner mode which limits the top speed of the drone whilst also making the drone react a little bit slower (smoother) to any joystick movements.
This is fine if you are trying to learn how to fly a drone but is not great for high winds. Turn this mode off and ideally you should enter a sports mode or sometimes called extreme mode of your drone. This will mean that you will be able to respond quickly to any gusts of winds which may blow your drone off course.
Choose your flight direction carefully
One of the most important tipster I picked up about flying in high winds is to make sure that when you are planning your flight mission that you flying against the wind on your outward leg of your journey.
The reason for this is that your return to home leg of your journey will be with the wind pushing you towards the landing spot. I have seen many people who have flown with the wind and then struggled to get back whilst watching their battery slowly deplete to nothing.
Therefore, the rule of thumb for planning your flight direction in very windy conditions is – fly against the wind on your outward’s leg.
I would hate for you to have two land in a ditch and then go find your drone because you haven’t accounted for the extra energy which is required to get you home whilst flying against the wind.
Charge your battery to the fullest
If you are planning on flying in high winds never leave without a full charged battery. This means that if you need to do any firmware upgrades you should do it at home and use up another battery before heading out. You want to make sure that every single drop of energy that you have in your battery is used to combat the wind and not simply upgrading firmware or doing any other upgrades.
I always carry two batteries with me and if in doubt I will swap out the current battery which the drone has used during its transport for the fresh battery. Just be warned that DJI smart batteries will automatically deplete the energy to preserve the lithium polymer composite as it is best stored at about 50 to 60% charge.
You should charge up your batteries the evening before your flight and only take them off charge as you are due to travel to your takeoff location.
Don’t be too ambitious with your plan
Stay close to your takeoff location. We all get a little bit carried away when we are flying our drones but a windy day is not the time to be flying extra distances or trying to squeeze in that last-minute shot.
If you are flying on a windy day remember to plan your takeoff spot so that you only have to fly a short distance to the or area of interest or the area you are investigating. Remain Conservative with what you can achieve as the battery will quickly deplete as the drone is fighting against the wind.
Land if your feel unsafe
Finally, the last rule is that you should land if you feel at all unsafe. If there’s any moment in your mind where you think that you should land – you should land. Quite often we ignore the feelings we have which can become a detriment to the safety of our flight.
Landing, and postponing your flight will be one of the best decisions you can make particularly if you want to preserve your drone for later. Your drone is useless to you if you crash it during a flight.
Here are some of the top-flight speeds and when resistances of some very popular drones.
What wind speed can Mavic pro handle?
The Mavic pro can handle a top speed of 10 m/s. That is approximately 22.4 mph. A general rule of thumb that we have talked about in this article before is that you shouldn’t fly your drone in any wind gusts which exceed two thirds of the maximum flight speed.
In the table, below, I have collated the top speed is a maximum wind resistance of the best drones currently available on the market. This includes consumer level drones as well as professional drones which Hollywood uses to film some of the amazing footage.
|Drone||Maximum speed||Wind resistance|
|Mavic Mini||13 m/s||8 m/s|
|Mini 2||16 m/s||10.5 m/s|
|Mavic Air 2||19m/s||10.5 m/s|
|Mavic Pro Platinum||18 m/s||10 m/s *|
|Mavic Air||19 m/s||10.5|
|DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0||20||10|
|DJI Phantom 4 RTK||31||18*|
|DJI Matrice 300 RTX||23||15|
|Autel Evo 2 Pro||20||17 -20 m/s (Force 8)|
*calculated 2/3 maximum speed
Where there wasn’t the maximum wind resistance quoted on the spec sheet I have simply taken a calculation of two-thirds of the maximum speed. This will give you an idea of how each of the drones, above, relates to each other.
What is the best drone for windy conditions?
The best drone for high winds is the Autel Evo 2 Pro. Of all of the drones that we reviewed in this article this drone has a maximum speed of 20 metres per second and is able to resist a wind speed of 17 to 20 m/s (which is a level VII wind force).
This drone is incredibly stable and can handle the highest of wind speeds. It has a maximum wind resistance of approximately 17 m/s which is a level VII force. This means that you can fly in quite strong winds and have confidence that your drone will return safely.
The maximum flight speed of 45 mph (or 20 m/s) means that the drone is able to quickly adapt to any changing wind conditions and also get to and from your landing spot quickly and efficiently.
Another thing I absolutely love about this drone is that it has 360° obstacle avoidance. It is equipped with 19 groups of sensors which includes 12 visual senses, the main front facing camera, ultrasound, and other sensors which enable the building of a three-dimensional map which it uses to plan its path. This, backed up with the incredibly fast processing power means that your drone will be able to follow you in real time through a range of quite complicated environments.
Check out the YouTube video which highlights this amazing omnidirectional obstacle avoidance:
This stable drone is also a 6K portable folding drone. Which means that you can be sure to capture great footage since the drone is able to fly in a range of conditions whilst remaining super stable.
If you are looking for the best drone for high wind conditions at an affordable price, I think this is it. If you want to discover more drones that are suitable for windy conditions check out my other article – best drone for high winds – five awesome insider pics – click here to be taken to the article.
In this article, we have discussed the safety wind speed for DJI drones. We have found that DJI drones generally have a safe wind speed of between 8 m/s to 10.5 m/s (17.8 mph – 23.5 mph). To check for your specific model of drone this data is often quoted in the user guide and you can also find this number in the specifications on the drone manufacturers website.
Quite often your DJI drone will tell you via the notifications on the app that you should land as soon as possible. You would be misguided if you decided to ignore the repeated notifications and even though I have ignore them occasionally if they are persistent I will land as soon as possible and it is safe to do so.
If you are in doubt about using your drone in high winds I would advise against going ahead with your flight and rescheduling for a different day. Better safe than sorry as you would not want to crash your expensive gadget for the sake of not wanting to wait a day or two.
Happy drones my beautiful friend and I wish you the best of luck flying in a range of wind conditions!