Do you fly drones more or less than the average person? Here’s how to find out

If you’re out flying drones every day — or at least a couple times a week — then, congrats! You’re above average. That’s because, when it comes to the average number of drone flights per month, drones are actually spending most of their days on the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration conducted a survey between Sept. and Oct. 2019 of people registered as recreational sUAS operators under Section 349 about their flight behavior and activities.

The FAA asked pilots how many drone flights per month they complete. Respondents reported that, on average, they fly approximately seven flights per month (well, 7.1, to be exact).

average drone flights per month FAA
Data and chart courtesy of the FAA

But the mean (which the FAA reported) is a bit of a funky number, as there are a huge chunk of pilots who fly far beyond the mean of 7.1 flights. Some pilots reported flying as many as 300 flights per month — which would be about 10 flights per day.

Most respondents said they actually only fly one flight per month.

And keep in mind that despite being an “average,” this data likely skews even higher than the true average of how many flights per month every drone out there actually flies. The FAA only offered this survey to registered pilots. There are likely many more unregistered pilots out there, but they’re also more likely to be the casual consumers who bought a drone only to fly a couple times on a vacation or for an event, and didn’t bother to register it, to boot. And even of the registered pilots, the survey was totally voluntary. People who registered but ignore their drone more often than not probably also ignoring answering a government survey. We’re willing to bet the average drone flights per month is far fewer than even 7.1.

The FAA’s data looked at flights that were about 30 minutes or less. That’s about the battery life of most drones (the DJI Mavic 2 Pro maxes out at 31 minutes). So pilots working on an all-day flight project who need to take off and land to swap out batteries would count each battery swap as a different flight.

average drone flight time duration of flight length FAA data
Data and chart courtesy of the FAA

And most pilots aren’t maxing out that full flight time. The FAA also asked pilots how long their drone flights lasted. Their survey found recreational respondents tend to fly about 16 minutes per flight.

Though, some industrial drones can fly far longer than that. DJI says its Matrice 300 has a flight time of 55 minutes. That’s well beyond the Matrice 200’s 38-minute battery life, and more than double the 27-minute life found on the prosumer Inspire 2.

How often do you fly your drone per month? Leave a comment below!

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