The latest flagship drone in the DJI store is the Impressive Mavic 3. It was released back in Nov 2021 with cutting edge features that put all the consumer drones to shame.
As with every newly released drone, a lot of people are keen to know the DJI Mavic 3 Max Altitude i-e how high can it go in the sky.
The DJI Mavic 3 has a max altitude of 6,000 meters above sea level. This is also called maximum service ceiling.
Let’s explore things in a bit more detail and see how high can we fly the DJI Mavic 3 while still resisting wind and retaining control.
DJI Mavic 3 max altitude limit
By default, your DJI Mavic 3 will be limited to flying up to the max altitude of 120 meters (394 feet) via software lock and there is a good reason for that.
Most countries in the world including the US and Canada restrict commercial drones to fly under the famous 400 feet limit.
Above 400 feet starts the manned flight zone.
As soon as you reach 394 feet or 120 meters, you will start seeing a warning on your screen about the max altitude limit (see photo below)
But you can change this limit inside the DJI Fly app and can set it to as high as 500 meters. While doing that, make sure you are not putting any air traffic in danger and are not in violation of your local laws.
Technically speaking, you can go much much higher with your DJI Mavic 3. Apart from the software blocking your ascend, there is nothing stopping you from going to the max service ceiling i-e 6,000 meters (19,685 feet)
Your Mavic 3 motors can generate enough lift to go as high as 6000 meters or around 20,000 feet. That’s very high. That’s the altitude where helicopters usually fly.
More Read: Mavic Air 2 Max Altitude
How to reach the max service ceiling?
Now that we know our DJI Mavic 3 can fly as high as 6,000 meters from sea level but is limited by software, how can we go around this limitation and reach the DJI Mavic 3 max altitude?
There are two ways you can go about this. One is a legal way and the other is well not exactly illegal but – a hack.
1. Taking off from a high altitude
The drone measures its altitude from the point it takes off. That take-off point is marked as zero references and the drone will fly to a maximum altitude set in the Fly App.
For example, if your maximum altitude is set to 500m and you take off from the top of a building that is 60m high, you can fly to a maximum altitude of 560m (500 + 60).
But what if you take off from 4,000m or even 5,500m altitude above sea level? Say on a high up mountain ski resort?
For example, the Mount Everest base camp is located at an altitude of 5,400 meters. If you take your Mavic 3 there and take off, you can touch the max service ceiling of 6,000 meters.
Of course, all this is hypothetical as such high altitude mountain resorts are very rare and difficult to get to. But for the purpose of demonstration, I mentioned it.
2. Using moded DJI firmware
Another way of doing this is hacking the DJI firmware and removing the altitude limit but for obvious reasons, I am not going to tell you how to do this.
If you are feeling adventurous and have some computer knowledge, I am sure you will find a way. After installing the moded firmware, you can take off from your lawn and ascend to the max altitude limit.
BUT, DON’T DO IT unless you can make absolutely sure you won’t put yourself or anyone else in any danger.
This will not only void your warranty but you will also be in violation of local airspace laws.
Why can’t DJI Mavic 3 go above 6,000 meters?
6,000 meters is what the manufacturer says it can go. In practice, you might be able to go above that on a good day. But what are the factors that technically limit the DJI Mavic 3 from going above and beyond?
The very first limitation is air density. As you go high, the air gets thinner and thinner.
That’s why, to generate more lift to keep climbing, the motors have to spin faster and faster drawing more current from the battery.
At a certain height, the air gets so much thin that no matter how fast your motors and propellers spin, the drone won’t be able to generate enough lift to climb further.
In manned helicopters, the propellers can vary their pitch to compensate for the reduced air density but they too can go no higher than 25,000 feet. Only one person has ever landed a helicopter on Mount Everest which is around 29,000 feet
With DJI drones, the propeller blades are not variable so they usually get less altitude limit.
Another reason is the temperature at high altitudes. When you go high, the air gets colder (thin air retains less heat hence low temperature).
This cold temperature negatively affects the drone’s batteries as they cannot discharge fully when cold. This limits how much current the motors can draw from the battery and thus limit the DJI Mavic 3 max altitude.
Why DJI put a limit on max altitude?
At this point, you must be wondering why DJI has put an altitude limit on your DJI Mavic 3 if it can go as high as 6,000 meters?
Why not unlock the full potential of the drone and let users fly it to its fullest? There are a few good reasons for that.
LEGAL LIMITATION: In almost all countries, there is a certain altitude limit on commercial and hobby drones to make sure they don’t intrude on manned aircraft flight zone.
In the US, you can fly your drone as high as 400 feet but not higher. Similar restrictions are in other countries as well. So, to be compliant, DJI has put a software lock on how high can you fly.
SAFETY: As discussed, the higher you go, the more you are putting manned flights at risk of collision. Manned flights operate above 500 feet by law (apart from the immediate surroundings of an airport).
That means, if you are flying above that height, you are trespassing into a manned flight zone and risking a collision.
HIGH WIND: Wind velocity increases as you go higher. Although most drones are highly wind-resistant including your DJI Mavic 3 (it offers level 5 wind resistance), it still can take so much. High wind can destabilize your drone and can risk a crash.
ALL THE GOOD STUFF ARE BELOW 400 FEET: Well that’s true. As you go higher and higher, your view of the world below gets dimmer.
All the good views can be recorded from below 400 feet so there is no point going above that height (apart from the fact that you can so you have to)