Understanding drone payloads and its flight time

Payload and flight time blog post

Understanding drone payloads and its flight time

Payloads explained

When are you are buying a drone with us, one important aspect is always the payload and payload capacity. On every product page that you see on our website, it’s explicitly mentioned as every payload and payload capacity is an important aspect of the purchase you are going to make. At all times you want the maximum operating capacity for your specific project requirements. In this article, we will explain more in-depth the differences in payloads.

What it means, payload and payload capacity

The payload is the weight a drone or UAV can carry in the air. Often when you would search the internet and on our website as well, you will find that there are two weights mentioned. It will mention the weight of the drone with the batteries (net weight), and besides, it will mention the weight of the drone including all additional equipment such as a gimbal, camera, water spraying system plus water, package lift weight, etc.

The greater payload your drone can carry gives you more flexibility to add additional technology and tools to your drone.

The payload weight vs. its flight time

All of our drones mentioned on the website mention the flight time of the drone without the payload and the flight time with the payload. The total weight of the payload has a great impact on the flight time of the drone. For example, the Aurelia X8 Standard with a payload of 8 kg (17 lb.), has a net flight time of 25 minutes. However, with a maximum payload capacity, the maximum flight time of the drone will be 12 minutes.

The same goes for the Aurelia X6 Pro, our flagship drone. A net flight time is 55 minutes, however, with its full payload of 5 kg (11 lb.), it will have a 30 minute flight time (customer tested and reviewed).

The reduced flight time with a maximum loaded capacity is simply explained. When a drone has to carry extra weight, it needs additional power to lift the payload (other than its own body weight). The extra power used from the batteries to keep the drone up with the weight reduces the total amount of flight time (without a payload).

Most drones that are bought from us by our customers are drones for business purposes and have lots of customizations. A camera, a LIDAR, a GPS, a telemetry upgrade, different motors for high altitude, a payload release mechanism, are all examples of customizations that will have an impact on the flight time. Please tell our drone specialists about your specific requirements for your project and they will inform you accordingly to what the flight time will be of your drone.

An example

What is important to understand is that the higher the power-to-weight ratio is for your drone, the more payload it can carry. However, heavier drones with a big payload will also have an impact on the power that is required to carry big payloads. A common option to extend flight time is to increase the battery size. However, just increasing the battery size often comes with a heavier battery, which increases the net payload weight of the drone (without a payload) and which reduces the amount of weight you can put on your drone.

An option here is to make use of semi-solid batteries. The capacity of the batteries increases a lot due to the most efficient technique for energy usage for batteries out there today, without increasing the weight of the batteries themselves. In case you are interested in using semi-solid batteries do not have to reduce your payload capacity and increase your flight time, you can always talk to our drone specialists.

As mentioned before, there are also other solutions that could increase the amount of payload you want to carry, using for example different motors with higher revs, or other features of the motor that increases the flight time. Even different motors used for flying at high altitudes are optional to maintain the same flight time in a less air-dense environment.

In case you have a special requirement, always advise our drone specialists about the specific requirements for your project and our engineers will make sure all will be organized accordingly.

Most popular payloads

Our customers order numerous different payloads for their drones. The most popular payload add-ons are the payload release mechanism (for example for package delivery), the LIDAR (for centimeter precision tasks), or a Gremsy gimbal (filmmaking and photo-taking).

Below on the left, there’s the video where you are able to see the Aurelia X6 Pro using the payload release mechanism.

On the right-hand side, you will see another popular add-on, a Gremsy Gimbal that can be attached to your drone for filmmaking and video shooting.

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