Flying your drone indoors can be an amazing experience for drone hobbyists, racers and professionals. There are many reasons why someone would want to fly their drone indoors.
Today we’re going to give you these reasons along with some helpful tips, some different types of indoor drones and some examples so that you clearly discover everything you need to know about indoor drones.
Now let’s find out what is an indoor drone:
Indoor drones are drones that are small in size in general and are capable of safely being used in closed confined spaces. These drones are often built with cages to protect the drone itself, the indoor space and individuals around the drone. Indoor drones are commonly used by hobbyists, drone racers and for professional applications such as oil & gas and mining.
Can You Fly A Drone Indoors?
It is definitely possible to fly a drone indoors. However, drones that have been specifically made for indoor use will be much safer and easier to use indoors for everyone involved. Flying a drone indoors that is made for outdoor use will require a lot of skill depending on how large the drone is.
Some professional and most racing drones were built to be flown indoors and therefore can be flown indoors a lot easier than drones that were not made for indoor use.
Flying a large drone indoors can pose several issues. One being their size, the other being their weight, and the final being their overall power. Larger drones are obviously going to be much larger, heavier and powerful compared to smaller drones.
This can pose issues in smaller indoor areas that may have multiple obstacles such as furniture, ceiling lights or walls. These drones have a much higher risk of hitting something compared to a smaller drone.
If they do hit something and crash indoors, they risk breaking even more once they impact the ground due to their weight.
These larger drones can also injure individuals that may be inside the same confined space. If you’re planning on using a large drone inside your house, we suggest you use an empty room or only fly it once your house is empty.
Large drones can have more propellers, larger propellers, more powerful motors or all of these combined compared to a smaller sized drone. This is going to make the drone much quicker and could make it more difficult to handle, especially if you’re not used to flying powerful drones.
Larger drones may not be built to be used indoors which can cause the above problems, so finding a drone suitable for indoor use is extremely important.
How Can You Tell If You Have An Indoor Drone?
Determining whether you have an indoor drone can at times be challenging. However, many indoor drones have unique characteristics which can clearly indicate that they are meant to be used indoors.
Most drones that were made for indoor use are not going to be very large. This is because smaller drones are less likely to run into things.
Here is a table on the average frame sizes for the three common types of indoor drones:
|Drone Type||Drone Frame Size (mm)|
|Micro||150 mm or less|
|Mini||150 mm -300 mm|
The above findings were from several different drone experts and the research was conducted by Learningrc.
They’re also a lot lighter and are less likely to injure someone or something that they may crash into. So ask yourself, is this drone too big to be an indoor drone?
You can also look at it’s propellers. Indoor drones often have small 1-2″ propellers but some can go up to 4″. Of course, if you’re using any old drone indoors then this may change.
Indoor drones also usually have drone propeller protectors, also known as drone propeller guards. These can lessen the chance of something running into the drone’s propellers while it’s in operation.
This can also prevent the drone from damaging something fragile if it bumped into it.
Almost all drone’s that have drone cages are meant to be used indoors, or at least are very capable of doing so.
Drone cages are either built with the drone by the manufacturer, or are added to the drone at a later date.
We’ll get into what they are and the different categories of drone cages down below.
Use your best judgment
Ask yourself, could the drone hurt something or someone if it were to crash into them and how serious could it be.
At the end of the day, you’re probably going to need to use your best judgement to decide whether it’s safe to operate your drone indoors.
Now let’s get into some reasons why you would want to fly your drone indoors.
Why Would You Fly A Drone Indoors?
There are many reasons why you may want to fly a drone indoors whether this be for recreational or professional purposes.
Different types of drones may be built primarily for various indoor uses/activities.
You might fly your drone indoors to get some practice, to race your drone, to conduct industrial inspections, to capture beautiful shots of your house or for real estate video tours.
If you’re just beginning your drone journey and you care enough about your drone, you may plan on using your drone inside the comfort of your own home to get the hang of it.
You may think that it may be a better option before going out to the dangerous, hazardous outdoors and possibly losing or damaging your drone.
As mentioned above, if you’re not using a toy, nano, micro or mini drone, then this may actually turn out to be a bad idea. If you do own one of these types of drones, then go right ahead.
We have included a few tips and tricks on how to fly your drone indoors near the end of this post!
DRL is the global, professional drone racing property for elite pilots. With custom built racing drones traveling 90 MPH, pilots race through the most insane courses across virtual and physical competitions.The Drone Racing League | The Premier Drone Racing League.
This organisation holds drone races in large indoor areas with many obstacles on these courses the professionals need to complete.
These quick custom built drones are small, lightweight and maneuverable allowing for these incredible speeds.
If you’d like to learn more on how fast drones can go, or you’d like to discover what the world’s current fastest drone is, we have a full post on this topic below.
Related Post: How Fast Can A Drone Fly? An In-Depth Guide To Drone Anatomy
Professional drone pilots may use their drones indoors or in confined spaces for things like mining inspections, real estate touring videos and inspections of large industrial equipment.
These drones usually have drone cages to protect the drone and the things it’s inspecting.
These drones are capable of flying through narrow holes in mines, capture high definition footage while smoothly floating around a home for real estate touring videos, and inspecting large industrial equipment to reduce the risk of a worker falling from such heights.
Lastly, you may just want to fly your drone indoors for fun! Challenging yourself to tighter, confined spaces can sharpen your skills and pass the time.
After all, why do you think they have toy drones!
Is It Legal To Fly A Drone Indoors?
The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) is responsable for all national airspace in the United States. They create and enforce all laws and regulations on drones.
Although you don’t own the airspace above your property, you do own the inside of your property.
This leads us into the question: Is it legal to fly a drone indoors?
It is completely legal to fly your drone indoors. There are no laws enforced by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) that state that it is illegal to fly your drone indoors. Once an area is closed with a roof, it is no longer part of national airspace and is therefore no longer controlled by the FAA, it is controlled by the individual that owns the area.
Any individual whether that be a recreational pilot or professional drone operators are legally allowed to operate a drone indoors.
So don’t worry, you won’t be breaking any laws!
What Are The Different Types Of Indoor Drones?
There are three different types of indoor drones (not including nano and mini drones which we will discuss after):
Toy indoor drones
Toy indoor drones are built for kids and beginners in general (hobbyists). These drones are very simple to use and are usually very small.
Toy drones are primarily built to be safely used indoors and to be safely used by children.
Toy drones are very safe to use to ensure that young children cannot injure themselves.
They are very lightweight so that they don’t damage furniture or hurt someone. This can also help prevent the drone itself from getting damaged if it crashes into something.
These drones are often very cheap with their average price bracket ranging from $20-$250.
They don’t usually have very long battery lives with average flight times between 5-15 minutes.
Finally, toy drones don’t usually come with cameras, and if they do, they are most likely very low quality.
First person view (FPV) racing indoor drones
As we’ve already talked about above, indoor drone racing is a very popular activity that is organised by the Drone Racing League (DLR).
These drones are usually custom built for maximum performance. However, you can find racing drones for sale on the market but they are not usually capable of reaching these incredible speeds of 90 mph (145 km/h).
They are not made for the average home. They are used in large open indoor spaces with tracks as we’ve already discussed.
They are built to be as efficient as possible in order to have the best maneuverability and speed.
First person view drones are drones that are used in conjunction with a screen or goggles to capture what the drone is seeing in real-time giving the incredible experience that you are flying very quickly.
These drones can range in price from around $500 to well over $1,000 if you want to go over 100 mph (161 km/h).
Professional indoor drones
Professional indoor drones are usually more on the expensive size depending on the industry they will be used in. With higher quality, higher prices follow.
These drones are used in a variety of industries such as the mining, oil and even energy industries.
Since we’re talking about indoor professional drones specifically, most of these drones have drone cages to protect it from any possible damage if it does bump into something.
These drones are also commonly equipped with high-end cameras as many are FPV, therefore the operator must solely rely on this camera to properly operate the drone.
What Are Nano And Mini Drones?
Nano and mini drones are relatively small drones that are most commonly used indoors. The main difference between the two is their overall size.
Nano drones are considered to be the smallest drones on the market. They are even smaller then the palm of your hand! These drones are meant primarily for indoor use due to their very small sizes.
They risk easily getting lost if brought outdoors because of their size. Light wind conditions can affect the drone severely causing it to crash.
Nano drones do not have removable batteries and are therefore only capable of being recharged with a USB cord.
They also don’t have cameras which can be a hindrance to many.
For all those worried about registration, you shouldn’t! These drones are too small to be considered a safety hazard and are not required to be registered with the FAA.
Mini drones are hand sized drones that are significantly larger than nano drones. These drones come with many more features and an overall better flying experience due to their ease of use.
These drones are capable of carrying high quality cameras to capture great footage.
They also have sensors to help aid you while flying.
Contrary to nano drones, mini drones have detachable batteries. They are capable of sustaining much longer flight times compared to nano drones due to their larger batteries.
Finally, these drones can also travel much further from the controller before it runs out of range.
What Are Drone Cages?
Drone cages have designs which can fit around a whole drone. These cages are primarily for indoor drones.
A drone cage is a frame that protects a drone and it’s parts from collisions. These cages are built in a way that can absorb the shock of an impact and prevent the drone’s propellers from coming in contact with an obstacle. These cages come in all shapes and sizes and can either come built-in with the drone or added to the drone at a later date.
They essentially act just like drone propeller guards but take it to the next level. They are lightweight structures in order to not reduce the drone’s ability to operate properly.
There are 2 categories when it comes to drone cages, one being drone cages that were built-in with the drone, and the other being drone cages that are added later on by the drone’s operator.
- Built-in drone cages
- Added drone cages
Built-in drone cages are drone cages that have been specifically made for a drone and were built into the drone during the manufacturing process.
There are two different kinds of built-in drone cages:
- Decoupled drone cages
- Fixed drone cages
Built-in drone cages are usually much stronger than drone cages that have been added on to a drone as they are made specifically for that drone with collision tolerance in mind.
Decoupling drone cages work on a gimbal mechanism that allows the drone to remain stable even after impact.
Fixed drone cages are the most advanced type of cage you can get with a drone. These cages are designed with a drone while it’s being manufactured to be shock resistant and to ensure that the drone can continue flying stable even after an impact.
Added drone cages are drone cages that have been added at a later date. These cages are usually made specifically for a drone.
They don’t have the added benefit of being built with the drone during the manufacturing process and are not very advanced.
This means that after any collision occurs, the cage might protect the drone’s propellers and parts from hitting, but the drone may still get damaged as the drone itself will still experience the impact and lose stability.
Companies such as DroneCage and Leicesterdrones are producing added drone cages for the DJI Phantom 4 and DJI Mavic 2 drones.
What Are The Benefits Of Indoor Drones?
Indoor drones are an amazing way to have fun and to work indoors or in confined spaces.
You can buy one for your kids to play with indoors and be sure that they are completely safe.
You can also buy one if you’re a beginner when it comes to flying drones in order gain some confidence in the confort of your own home.
Professional indoor drones have an incredible amount of uses in various industries.
Some common applications of professional indoor drones are:
- Inspections of mining tunnels and industrial equipment
- Inspecting nuclear power plants
- Capturing real estate video tours
These drones increase safety in the workplace by reducing and sometimes eliminating altogether the need for a human to put their life at risk.
They increase the areas one can reach in certain fields of work that would otherwise not have been attainable.
Finally, they also reduce overall costs by replacing costly methods as they are practical and quick to deploy.
What Drones Can Fly Indoors?
Here are several examples of popular indoor drones that you can buy today!
- Hubsan H111 Q4 (Nano)
- DJI Mavic Mini (Mini)
- Ryze Tello (Mini)
- Cheerson CX-10 (Nano)
- Snaptain SP350 (Mini)
Tips For Flying Drones Indoors
Here are some tips and tricks on how to fly a drone indoors:
- Don’t fly a drone that’s too big for the space you have available
- Install propeller guards or cages
- If flying in your home, try removing any obstacles
- Steer clear of ceilings and walls
- Make use of indoor positioning systems and obstacle avoidance sensors available in larger drones
- Start off with a small drone
- Use an indoor hull (Similar to drone cage)
- Read your drone’s guidelines
- Fly slow!
Although flying a drone indoors can be an awesome experience, it can also be very challenging and difficult. Many drone pilots don’t like the idea of flying a drone indoors and that is why you should only aim to do it with toy drones or drones that were specifically made to be used indoors.
Drones may be small in most cases, but they can definitely damage your belongings! So be safe and we wish you the best of luck.