Of the many features DJI has improved drastically on each new Mavic product, the new achievable speeds are one of the most impressive. While Mavic 3’s top speed is fair compared to other types of drones on the market, having been equipped with better hardware and with its firmware receiving constant updates, its top speeds are unmatched by other Mavic products.
The Mavic 3 has three different top speeds depending on the mode the drone is put in. In Normal Mode, the Mavic 3’s ascending and descending speed is 6 m/s (13.4 MpH).
At sea level without wind, Mavic 3 can reach 16 m/s (35.8 MpH) flying in this mode. In Cine mode, the ascending and descending speeds are capped at 1 m/s (2.2 MpH), and the top speed under the same conditions is only 5 m/s (11.2 MpH).
It is on Sports Mode that the drone’s maximum capabilities can be seen. With an ascending speed of 8 m/s (17.9 MpH) and a descending speed of 6 m/s (13.4 MpH), when in full throttle in the Sports Mode, Mavic 3 can reach speeds of 19 m/s (42.5 MpH).
Mavic 3, like other DJI products, is a quadcopter. Quadcopters hover in midair by strictly making sure that all the motors run with equal power. That way, because the lift generated from each motor is equal, the drone can support its distributed weight.
When the signal to move the drone forward comes from the controller, the drone increases the speed of two motors to create an imbalance of the net force on the drone. This produces the drone’s tilt, and, as a consequence, the drone moves in that direction.
Generally speaking, how much a drone can tilt without flipping over and losing the ability to stay afloat is largely what determines the top speed the drone can reach. The larger the tilt is, the faster the drone can go.
The top speeds Mavic 3 can get differ based on the mode that the drone is flying in because the maximum angle the drone can tilt is based on the mode it’s in. In C Mode, it has a 25° tilt; in N Mode, it becomes 30°; and — the maximum tilt it has — in S Mode, 35°.
Factors Influencing the Speed
Apart from the obvious differences in maximum speed the mode differences can make, there are plenty of other factors upon which the maximum speed of the drone depends. The design is the factor that determines speed the most.
Drones designed for races can achieve quite astonishing speeds while toy drones are very slow. The takeoff weight of the standard Mavic 3 model is 895 g, making it relatively light compared to many drones (but compared to lighter drones like the Mavic Mini, which weighs about a third of the Mavic 3, it seems weighty).
Another aspect of the design that affects the speed of a drone is how high the pitch angle of the propellers is.
This isn’t a case of ‘the higher the better’ because while on paper, the higher the pitch angle, the higher the speed, because the drag produced increases with the pitch angle, either the motor, the battery, or both needs to be larger, making the whole drone weigh more and counter whatever speed was gained as a result of the higher pitch angle.
Therefore, manufacturers have to be careful to find the most efficient combination.
All Mavic products have one of the most well-designed, multi-functional hardware and software. Coupled with really great propellers, Mavic drones employ brushless motors, which yield up to 85-90% efficiency (when their counterparts, brushed motors, have 75-80% efficiency).
The next major factor affecting the speed of a drone is, unsurprisingly, the weather. In cooler temperatures, the batteries discharge inefficiently; so when flying the Mavic 3 in such conditions, do not be surprised that you find it slower than advertised.
Because the other force — apart from the weight — the drone has to fight is air resistance, on windier days, the drone’s speed will be curtailed. It is also very important to remember that wind speed seldom remains the same as the drone goes higher in altitude.
The higher the drone is, the more wind it is likely to face. An interesting thing to note here is that according to the tests done by numerous YouTubers, Mavic 3 comes very close to its mode’s maximum speed even when flying at a high altitude, demonstrating that, technically speaking, the motors have more power than they appear.
This has given more credibility to the claim that the maximum speeds have more to do with the software than they do with the hardware.
Tips on How to Get the Drone to Go Faster
Because the drone is in its most powerful state when it’s in S Mode, if it’s more speed that you want, you should keep the drone in this mode. Beware, however, that the S Mode is the most battery-intensive — but sometimes, the trade-off is worth it.
Another thing you can try is to fly the drone in the direction of the wind. This way, not only will the drone waste less energy as it fights against air resistance, but it will also get pushed by the wind traveling in the same direction, further increasing its speed.
You can also try to reduce the weight of the drone, especially if speed is your priority. Removing guards and floaters, getting lighter propellers, etc. can make a difference. Lastly, if you’re adamant about gaining more speed, you can always get motor upgrades.
This method requires some amount of technical skills and knowledge, and, at this point, you’re entering the world of custom drone building — which, to be honest, opens up a world of options for achieving even more speeds.
All amateur drone builders should keep in mind that all the regulations apply to them as well, and unless they’re very careful, they may risk getting massive amounts of fines.
Drones faster than Mavic 3
Depending on how fast you want your drone to be, you may decide to buy faster drones. There are numerous options to go with because there are a lot of drones that are faster than Mavic 3. This is because Mavic 3 was not built with higher speeds as its primary goal.
If you look at racing drones, the top speeds that they can achieve are totally off the charts. The DRL RacerX, for instance, can have an average speed of 165 mph and, with the fastest one-way top speed of about 180 mph. The DJI FPV is the fastest DJI drone on the market. This drone can reach 87 mph, which is quite impressive.