What Is Level 5 Wind Resistance for Drones?

David Lemay22 Jan 2023

Did you know that flying a drone in high winds increases the likelihood of it crashing or, even worse, losing your drone? Drone wind resistance levels are important for operators to determine whether or not they can safely operate the drone in a given environment.

What Is Wind Resistance?

In the midst of the wind, flying anything is a challenging task. Strong winds have always been a significant problem for pilots, whether they are operating a big aeroplane or a small drone.

Francis Beaufort, an Irish navy Admiral, developed a measure called the Beaufort wind scale to characterize the strength of the wind that ocean vessels can confront. In the case of aviation, the same scale was adapted for use and given the name wind resistance levels.

The degree to which a drone can resist movement in a wind is called its wind resistance. With a higher value, the drone can better withstand windy conditions.

What Is Drone Wind Resistance?

The levels of wind resistance for drones range from 0 to 12. These values represent the maximum wind speeds that a drone can withstand. Bear in mind that larger numbers indicate greater stability, which is especially important when flying in windy circumstances. Therefore, drones with an air resistance of 6 are superior to a drone with a wind resistance of 4 in terms of handling and control in windy conditions.

Drone wind resistance ratings are commonly used by drone operators to categorize the intensity of the wind.

  • 0 - perfectly calm
  • 1 - can move smoke in the wind direction
  • 2 - can move leaves and wind can touch the face
  • 3 - can move leaves and twigs
  • 4 - can move dust from the ground
  • 5 - can move a small tree
  • 6 - can sway big tree branches
  • 7 - can resist walking against the wind
  • 8 - can break small twigs and branches
  • 9 - can blow slate from a rooftop
  • 10 - can break a tree
  • 11 - can cause widespread damage
  • 12 - can cause damage to structures

What Is Level 5 Wind Resistance?

Drones typically operate at a level 5 wind resistance. This implies it's safe to take off in winds of up to 10.7 m/s (24 mph) with your drone. Drones cannot be flown safely in winds exceeding this speed because they will behave erratically and increase the likelihood of crashes.

Drones can fly with level 5 wind resistance at speeds between 19 and 24 miles per hour. It signifies the drone has just enough power to withstand the resistance produced by the wind.

In response to an increase in wind velocity, the wind pressure rises gradually. According to Nasa's webpage, level 0 is defined as tranquil with speeds of less than one mile per hour.  But when the velocity of the wind increases, so do other factors. Wind speeds between 17 and 21 mph, which correspond to level 5 on the wind scale, cause waves between 4 and 8 feet in height.  Once the wind reaches land, the leaves on the trees begin to shake.

Possible outcomes for a drone exposed to a level 5 wind include the following:

  • Take Off Disturbance
  • Poor footage quality
  • Unstable shots
  • Excessive battery depletion
  • Failing sensors

What Happens if You Fly Your Drone Above Level 5 Wind Resistance?

If you fly your drone when the wind resistance is higher than specified, you run the risk of crashing it or getting seriously injured. Here's what you can expect:

Erratic Movement

The drone's capacity to generate sufficient thrust from its motors determines how well it performs in windy conditions. It's important to have sufficient power generation, but the drone also needs to be able to react rapidly. In general, the less expensive and less powerful the drone, the more noticeable the flight shaking will be.

To maintain its GPS location while being buffeted by the wind, the drone will activate its motors in a variety of permutations. If the drone's battery isn't strong enough to counteract the wind's force, it will drift and have to retrace its GPS coordinates to get back to where it took off.

The drone can return to its original GPS location and altitude when a gust passes, thus it is not necessarily a problem even if the wind is quite strong. If the wind speed keeps increasing and is greater than the wind resistance, the drone will keep drifting.

Blurry Footage

Expect your drone to have trouble taking footage in strong winds. The gimbal on drones has been tuned to compensate for moderate wind. Drone footage taken outside of these ranges will be blurry since the camera and drone won't be able to compensate for the shaky flight.  Even worse, the gimbal will have a hard time capturing smooth video if you're flying in strong winds.

Increased Potential for Mishaps

Your drone is more likely to move erratically and have various issues, like excessive motor speeds, rapid battery loss, warnings about high winds, and so on, as the wind strength increases.

Drone operators sometimes disregard such warnings, but in heavy winds, it is best to return to the launch site and land the drone as soon as possible. It's best to return at a different time unless you have an urgent task that can't wait. It will work out better for both the drone and the pilot to get the drone task done on a day with significantly less wind.


Drones' sensors and motors work harder to keep the drone stable when flying at high wind speeds, which causes the drone to overheat.

If it warns you that the maximum engine speed has been reached, your drone is likely to overheat soon, which could harm the internal components.

As a result of the increased demand for power, the battery temperature will rise significantly. Heat is produced during the process of transferring power from the battery to the drone. You should wait until the battery has cooled down fully before trying to recharge it. To put it simply, lithium polymer batteries melt easily.

Fortunately, some of the energy created during flight can be dissipated by flying in a high, chilly wind. But if the weather is hot and windy, your drone is more likely to overheat and crash.

While Level 5 wind resistance is the safe point, there are modern drones that can fly in gusts as high as level 6. However, take into account that it is contingent on several things, including the strength of the motors and whether or not they are sufficient to counteract the velocity of the wind. In addition, the drone's weight is a major factor. Lightweight objects are more easily thrown around. The drone's battery life will also be greatly diminished as a result of flying in the heavy wind.

David Lemay

David Lemay

I'm David Lemay, a lover of tech and have had an interest in drones for years. Bought my first few drones, before I started building my own. I want to share my passion with others, so I started this site to help others who want to get into the hobby.

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