How long an APM Plane can fly with 1 fully charged battery?

Do you have an idea of how long in hours-minutes an APM Plane can fly, complete with telemetry, video OSD/FPV and one battery fully charged ?

10 minutes or 10 hours. That depends on the plane, the drive train and the battery.

No seriously please.
You take a new APM 3DRobotics Plane, with a camera and telemetry.
You have a fully charged battery of the battery kit sold with the plane (One Battery - $57.99)
How long can you fly ??

I need to know a right answer before I order or not an APM Plane.


This plane :

No seriously. There’s too many factors affecting the flight time, for anyone to give you a reasonable estimate. I can say with much certainty that it’s between five and thirty minutes, but what you are doing will make a big difference. That plane can thermal if you keep it light enough, which means a skilled pilot can shut off the motor and glide a lot - that’s how you get 30 minute flight times. A crappy pilot might run the throttle on full for five minutes straight. The APM operating your airplane will be somewhere in between.

Really, before you start messing around with the auto modes, you’ll be doing LOTS of manual flying, and this will give you the data you need to know. The technique is generally, fly for a known amount of time significantly under your estimated max, then charge your battery and let the charger tell you how many mAh went back in (a quality charger will tell you this) - then it’s a simple calculation to get your total time.

For example, if you flew for five minutes, and you put 1100mAh back into your battery, it’s obvious you used half the capacity, right? So your max time would be ten minutes, and to save your battery, we cut that to 80% - your maximum safe flight time would be 8 minutes. (Try not to use more than 80% of the capacity of Lipo batteries, or it tends to damage them)

The project is to make a daily recording of a 6 miles air auto trip.
Any idea?

This APM Plane looks wonderful toy, but can it make it?

Thanks for your prompt reply.


You should have told from the beginning that you are referring to a 3DR RTF kit. “APM plane” could be any type of plane which is controlled by an APM. People have been flying e.g. 200+ minutes and 100+km with a Skywalker X8 with a 25Ah battery pack.
If you want a precise answer, you need to ask a precise question.

This is a hobby product, it isn’t really designed for that kind of thing. It is designed for experimentation really. If you want to experiment with making a designated flight every day, I would love to see the results, but I don’t have a lot of confidence that you will be able to fly that far with enough reliability. I personally would not attempt that unless it was in the middle of nowhere. A flight of that distance over a populated area would be extremely risky.

I suggest you make a commitment that you are going to go wherever the hobby takes you, then get the plane, get a good radio, some good charging equipment, and start experimenting. You won’t complete your mission right away, but you WILL have fun.

I do not see that the plane comes with any RC control system - you will need that, so you’re going to need to research regular RC flying a little bit. Your first few flights will be by RC only, because you need to test the system before turning on any auto-pilot features. SO, you need to learn to fly if you don’t know already - that might take a few months. It’s pretty dangerous to fly these things on auto-pilot without the ability to rescue the plane yourself with manual take-over. We saw the results of that at the last AVC, where a team needed to take control of their plane, and the pilot who did so was pretty bad at flying the thing - they crashed into the landing area, cartwheeled the plane, and broke it up pretty good - you don’t want to have that problem.

My point is, if you want to learn to use hobby-grade auto-pilot systems, you’re in for a long journey. It’s a ton of fun, but don’t get the impression that this equipment is going to fly the plane for you. Your mission is definitely possible, but you’re going to need to do the ground-work to achieve it. That means getting a solid foundation in RC model airplane technology, and it probably means designing your own plane and system specifically for that mission.

If you want something you can just buy and any idiot can fly it, you’re going to want to increase your budget into the six figures range…

This has a five mile range and over an hour flight time. I know these guys - these start at $100,000 - but for that price, they will come teach you how to operate it. … /specs.php

I fly a platform almost daily further than that but really its not the question you should be asking. The question is what sensor will get me the information I require.

If you fly a camera 6 miles a day it will take hours to look at the stills. If you think an FPV camera will show you fine detail on the ground you will be in for a bit of a shock.

I have not tried it but I expect a Blixer can make six miles, its not all that far. You should buy one to start experimenting and getting used to UA.