According to regulations, what should a mini-drone do once it is out of the control range? Would it continue flying even if it receives no signal?

What about full size drones?

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    $\begingroup$ It would do whatever it was programmed to do, which is a question only the manufacturer can answer. $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag May 5 '16 at 7:13
  • $\begingroup$ It's clear from a quick glance at the manual that this is only a toy, so I don't think the question is relevant to the aviation community. $\endgroup$ – Dan Hulme May 5 '16 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ This site is not "for all questions that don't have anywhere else to go to". I think that comparing it to a helicopter is a bit unreasonable when your question is specifically about the remote-control aspect. For general advice on the issue, see this related question. $\endgroup$ – Dan Hulme May 5 '16 at 8:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Telkitty: Are you aware of the existence of the websites diydrones.com and rcgroups.com? Both are home to very large communities of hobbyist pilots (70 thousand for diydrones and millions for rcgroups). There are other smaller sites out there like flitetest and fpvlab but almost everyone flying any sort of unmanned aircraft gravitate towards rcgroups sooner or later $\endgroup$ – slebetman May 6 '16 at 7:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Telkitty: I'd also like to note the importance of rcgroups.com to the hobbyist community (and even the larger aviation community). A lot of the drone software you find out there can be traced back directly to discussions on rcgroups - yes, people develop software while talking to their friends on rcgroups. A lot of the software like KK2 and MultiWii are basically community projects born out of forum discussions. There are even real-life UAV developers who hang out there (though they usually can't say much about their past projects - they give good advice though) $\endgroup$ – slebetman May 6 '16 at 7:13

Let's take it from the top: it depends on the drone

Regular, off the shelf hobby drones, might just turn off and then fall to their doom. Some more expensive ones, might have a feature to safely land (instead of dropping like a rock).

Considering military ones, it all depends on the programming and the manufacturer. Some drones have parachutes, so that could aid them when they run out of juice.

  • $\begingroup$ This is true, although others will have a "reverse course" type of functionality to either track back the way they came, or fly towards where they launched, or will just stabilise and hover until you can get back into range. $\endgroup$ – Jon Story May 10 '16 at 14:33

Depending on your drone, the drone will probably stop moving and land safely. Or it will continue flying until there is no power left. There are no regulations about this and this question can only be answered if you try it out yourself or ask this to your manufacturer.

  • $\begingroup$ Or return to take-off point or specified landing coordinates. Depends entirely on the drone whether you can set these. $\endgroup$ – Rory Alsop May 9 '16 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ @RoryAlsop Agree, DJI has it's fail safe mode if it is out of range and will return back to the HOME position until the drone is within range again. But the Syma X5C just continues to fly until there is no battery power left. $\endgroup$ – Hugo Woesthuis May 14 '16 at 8:16

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