Pilot Sets Record for Fastest Drone Flight at 224 MPH

Drone pilot Ryan Lademann has been granted the Guinness Book of World Records title for “fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-controlled (RC) quadcopter” when his custom drone reached 224 miles per hour.

Gizmodo reports that the previous drone speed record was 164.5 miles per hour set by the Drone Racing League back in 2017. The amount of stress that speed put on the drone was enormous and was apparently enough to cause one of the prototypes to burst into flames.

That is probably why the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) puts a 100-mile-per-hour limit on how fast drones are allowed to fly under normal circumstances, but pilots can request a waiver if they can show their proposed flight can be conducted safely. That’s what Lademann did when he set out to the Arizona desert with his XLR V3 drone.

While this record was set in November, the Guinness Book of World Records only recently confirmed the data to grant Lademann the title of fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter.

“Ryan designed and custom-built several prototypes using three D printers and hand construction skills for his attempt. He hoped to demonstrate that his skills and desire to learn new stuff would break a Guinness World Records title for speed,” Guinness writes.

“Ryan made his attempt in Arizona, a location for much aviation test flying, due to the predictable weather, ideal desert terrain, great visibility, and large unpopulated tracts of land. He met with aerospace and aerodynamic engineers, professional pilots, and quadcopter enthusiasts who assisted with his attempt.”

According to Lademann, the drone that set the new speed record is based on the frame he attempted back in 2018 that reached a max speed of 202.11 miles per hour.

In order to be granted the world record by Guinness, the organization requires the drone to make two runs and be flown back and forth in opposite directions during a level flight. The top speeds of both runs are averaged together to create the final speed.

So while Lademann’s drone peaked at 235.68 miles per hour during his run, the average came out to 224.01 miles per hour over 100 meters when his drone was flown in the required opposite directions.

Lademann admits the video footage from his drone is “especially terrible” since there is no UV filter on the lens, but he also shared what he describes as a “decent” ground view below:

As is to be expected, these flights are very short as the amount of power it takes to propel the drone — even with its relatively low 490-gram weight — is substantial and Lademann has a limited amount of time before his craft would literally fall out of the sky. As seen in the video below, battery failure led to a crash during the first attempt at breaking the record.

“This was the first flight of the day for the Guinness world speed record attempt,” Lademann describes.

“These batteries are not easy to build and the tab on one of the cells was very small. Either the high current caused the solder to melt or (more than likely) it was a cold solder joint. Since you don’t want to keep the soldering iron on the battery tab any longer than you have to, I may not have given it enough time.”