When you think of a drone, you probably picture it flying freely through the sky while being controlled by a person on the ground. However, there is another very popular type of drone that works a little differently – the tethered drone. Tethered drones offer a number of unique benefits, which is why an increasing number of businesses and individual drone enthusiasts have been using them. Here’s what you need to know about tethered drones, as well as some of our favorite models.
What is a tethered drone?
A tethered drone is any drone that is physically attached to a station on the ground. The most advanced tethered drones use special wiring to connect with a power source. More simplistic tethered drones are attached with a thin cord that’s similar to fishing wire. Operators can use the tether to control the drone and fly it safely, even at very high altitudes or in dangerous conditions. It’s important to note that even though tethered drones are attached to a point on the ground, they are still subject to the same FAA regulations as a traditional unmanned drone.
What are the benefits of tethered drones?
There are a number of benefits to using tethered drones instead of unmanned drones. Some of these benefits are:
Less Likely To Crash
Tethered drones are less likely to crash. Drones are a huge financial investment, so it’s very important to be able to fly them safely. Although drone technology is quickly advancing, crashes are still relatively common, particularly among inexperienced flyers. Technical issues with unattached drones can also lead to crashes. A tethered drone is much easier to control and therefore much less likely to crash and sustain damage. They are restricted to a certain area because of the tether, and therefore do not need to rely on a complex GPS system, which can be difficult to operate.
Longer Flight Time
Tethered drones have a much longer flight time than untethered drones. This is because they can be connected to a power source and don’t need to rely on batteries. Traditional unmanned drones can often fly for only 20 minutes before needing to be recharged. If you’re looking to film a long sequence of aerial footage without having to stop and recharge your batteries, a tethered drone is a good option.
Easier To Fly
A tethered drone is much easier for beginner pilots to fly than an untethered drone. It takes time to master the nuances of a drone control system, and it can be very difficult to capture clear photos or video. With a tether, the drone can fly with much more stability, which makes it easier for beginner users to get good results.
Many tethered drones can reach a much higher altitude than untethered drones. This is because the lightweight cords are designed to reduce drag, which allows them to fly much higher without being weighed down by wind. This gives you more flexibility when filming, because you won’t have to worry about the drone going out of range.
Who uses tethered drones?
Tethered drones can be used for a variety of different purposes. Just like their untethered counterparts, tethered drones are excellent for taking aerial photography and video. Many photographers prefer tethered drones because they are easier to control in the air, and they can fly for much longer periods of time without needing to be recharged. Some tethered drones can also achieve a much higher vantage point than their untethered counterparts, which can make for very dramatic aerial photography. Photographers also appreciate that tethered drones are very stable and are less risky to fly than untethered drones. Tethered drone photography is not only useful from a creative standpoint, but it’s also a very useful tool for journalists. The stability and long range of tethered drones can help news stations get clear footage of important events for their broadcasts.
Many companies also use tethered drones for surveillance and criminal tracking. Military branches and contractors use them for their operations as well. There is a lot of untapped potential for tethered drones in terms of safety operations. Because of they can stay in the air for so much longer, they are much more efficient for tracking criminals, monitoring crowds, or just providing general surveillance footage. Many emergency response teams also use tethered drones to organize a response strategy. Drone footage helps responders assess the scope of the situation and locate people who are trapped. They are also much lighter than helicopters, which makes them much easier to deploy in these scenarios. Drones are very small and maneuverable, allowing responders to get a very detailed visual of the scene before making any critical decisions.
Drones also have scientific benefits. Many large farms use them as a way to track the health of their crops and develop a more effective water and fertilization strategy. Not only does this help increase crop yield and prevent waste, but it can also help minimize the amount of manual labor needed to run the farm. Drones can also be used to monitor weather by tracking storms, taking air quality measurements, check water levels, and more. With drones, scientists can get much more detailed information about the world around us, which can speed up the process of innovation and research.
Best Tethered Drones
There are a number of tethered drones on the market to choose from. Here are some of the best options currently available.
This model from Hoverfly is simple to operate, but it’s durable enough to hold up even in challenging weather conditions. It can reach as far as 200 feet in the air, giving you plenty of flexibility to work with. The tether also provides continuous power, so you never have to recharge the battery. Most of the operations on this model are completely autonomous, so it’s very easy to fly. The control panel has only five buttons, which reduces confusion for beginner pilots. There are a few different ways to configure the system, so you can operate it remotely as necessary.
Elistair sells their drone and tethering systems separately. While the Orion is already an excellent drone with more than 10 hours of flight time, you can also opt to use their tethering system with a drone you already have. The Orion also offers military grade surveillance capability and is extremely weather resistant for a more powerful performance. This is an extremely durable power system that provides an unlimited power connection to your drone. It is a very lightweight tether that won’t interfere with your drone’s flight capabilities. The tether station has a WiFi connection, so you can control it from your smartphone or computer as necessary. It’s also compact and relatively portable, so you can take your flight anywhere.
If your main focus is capturing excellent photos and video, this model from XD Motion could be a good option for you. It has an HD camera with the ability to stream live broadcasts, as well as full lens control so you can zoom in and out as needed. The tether is 100 meters long and connects the drone to a full power source. It does require a two person crew to fly, but captures stunning high quality aerial shots.
Tethered drones offer a number of unique benefits, like unlimited flight time, increased elevation, and ease of control. For business owners, they offer plenty of untapped potential for keeping your business safe and even making your operations more efficient. As a photographer or videographer, tethered drones offer more range, so you can be more creative with your work. Now is an ideal time to invest in a tethered drone to help your business get ahead. Because these drones offer so many benefits, it’s likely that we’ll see more of them in the coming years.