The FAA limits a drone’s speed to 100 mph, but this does not limit how fast a drone can fly. Ryan Lademann now holds the world record for “Fastest ground speed by a battery-powered wireless router quadcopter”.
When pushed to its maximum speed, one of the Drone Racing League’s (DRL) drones actually went up in flames. The DRL is attempting to beat the current UAS speed record of 163.5 miles per hour. Such speeds put a significant strain on the electric motors and battery packs. Consider a burning ball of electronics hurling itself at you!
Lademann’s drone is 490 grammes in weight, which is half the weight of the DRL’s speed demon. The XLR V3 employs commercial electronics such as batteries, electric motors, a live-streaming camera, and even propellors. “You can ask a waiver of most operational constraints if you can show that your recommended operation can be conducted safely,” according to the FAA.
Rather than gaining a boost from gravity in a dive, the drone reached speeds of 235.68 MPH during one level flight. The rules of Guinness World Records require the drone to make 2 runs at the same time and average them.
Due to the limitations of battery capacity and the amount of power drawn by the drone’s electric motors, the two flights are extremely brief, lasting only seconds before the XLR V3 must land to avoid crashing . The clip of the run from the pilot’s first-person perspective is underwhelming because the desert lacks scale and speed. We’d love to see it flying down a busy street at breakneck speeds, but that’s why the FAA, not us, is responsible of safety.