Along with other vital features to consider when buying a drone, speed is crucial.
Drone racers want a fast drone to compete effectively, while commercial users want a drone that can move swiftly during filming, or when they need to conduct an emergency landing.
But how fast do drones fly?
Generally, the speed of popular quadcopters is around 45 mph, but some top models fly at 70 mph. An FPV racing drone with modifications often maxes out at over 100 mph, with one setting a world record at 179 mph.
Surprisingly, a military predator drone is slower and flies at 135 mph.
You should know that there are many different factors that affect a drone’s speed, and more importantly, controlling drones at high speeds require stronger piloting skills.
So, keep reading the guide below to learn more about different drones and their speeds.
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What Is the Average Speed of a Drone?
On average, a drone flies at around 45 miles per hour, however, it’s best not to fly your drones at full speed for safety reasons.
There is a significant difference between a camera drone and a racing drone though.
Camera drones are moderately proportioned, making them fly slower than racing drones.
Check out the drone speed comparison table below for info on the most popular models.
|DJI Inspire 2||70mph|
|DJI Phantom 4 Pro||55mph|
|DJI Mavic Pro 2||45mph|
|Autel Robotics Evo||44mph|
|DJI Mavic Air||42mph|
|DJI Mavic Pro||40mph|
How fast do racing drones fly?
Racing drones can go faster, especially if the pilot is an expert – balancing at high speed is critical. Some pilots exceed the limit to 120mph, and recently the highest rate is a world record of 179mph.
As a drone racer, your drone requires a particular setup focus on speed, performance, and agility. See below how fast racing drones can go.
|Racing Drones||Racing Speed|
|Diatone GT200 2017||99mph|
|Eachine Falcon 250||90mph|
|Nytfury’s ARC 200||75mph|
|Blade Mach 25||70mph|
Can a drone go 200mph?
Just recently, a student built a drone that could fly 200mph. Though still in testing, Allan Inestroza wants to ensure the drone can work underwater and race.
Check out the three main types of drones, their speeds, and the factors affecting their rate.
These drones’ sole purpose is speed. That’s why they fly faster than all other drones. They are basically for competitions.
The average speed of a racing drone is between 60-120mph.
However, racing drones are customized to enable them to fly faster than their limit – like the modified racing drone flying at 179mph.
Some factors that ensure the high speed of racing drones are the size and weight.
Racing drones are symmetrical and most of the structural features are stripped down, making them compact and lightweight yet robust. They also feature flight control software.
As a fan of racing drones, nothing is more enjoyable than watching the speeds these drones can achieve during a few sporting events.
Consumer drones have an average speed limit of 45 to 70mph.
These blades affect the speed of the drone by providing stability and torque.
Police drones are a type of off-shelf model for commercial drones. They fly at a speed of over 50mph for over 30 minutes.
Also, they use unique visual and thermal cameras to help in day and night operations.
Undeniably, drones have several functions like delivery, search operations, photography, and racing.
However, the most popular use is for military purposes like surveillance and investigations of targeted attacks.
Military drones are usually adaptable regarding speed and how far they can see.
Currently, the ongoing project for military drones is the construction of the F-35 Lightning II stealth aircraft drone. This unique drone can fly over 7,400 kilometers per hour.
What Affects Drone Speed?
Drone speed depends on several factors, such as:
- Environmental elements like wind or rain
- Drone design
- Propellers and motor type
Let’s look at each factor in-depth.
Wind affects small and light drones more quickly than large ones.
When a drone hovers on the ground, the wind forms an equal force to the airspeed of the drone.
Therefore, the drone’s ground speed depends on the wind force and flight direction. In case of strong wind, the drone tends to drift away, making the pilot unable to control and maintain position.
Conversely, rain/moisture affects the drone’s speed.
Though it’s a top factor to consider, most drones don’t come with an IP rating. So, when rain, fog, or snow enters the drone, it damages the control system, affecting how fast it can go.
Apart from the type of drone, its design contributes to its speed. The two crucial designs include fixed-wing and rotary-wing.
A fixed-wing drone design emulates that of an airplane.
Such a drone can lift itself, gliding in flight to change to desirable altitudes.
Fixed-wing drones fly faster because they use less power. These drones have a tailwind that’s highly beneficial in the wind’s direction.
For example, a drone flying at 52mph can increase its speed to 70mph using the tailwind.
Rotary-winged drones are the most prevalent.
They lift and fly using propellers powered by their motor. The drone propellers move the drone horizontally because of their powerful batteries and motors.
Propellers and Motor Type
The drone’s propellers and motor determine how fast it flies.
So, it only takes a few propeller spins to enable steady and robust drone lift. A good example of high-performance propellers for speed is the DALPROP T5045C 5045 5-Inch propellers.
They feature 3 blades, are light, durable, and are designed to minimize wind resistance as much as possible.
On the other hand, a powerful motor, such as the iFLIGHT XING X22207 type produces faster revolutions – enough to fly an FPV drone.
After choosing the ideal propellers and motor type for your preferred drone, expect it to fly faster and better than most.
How fast can you legally fly a drone?
According to the FAA, the legal speed limit for drones is around 100mph.
Even though some modified drones exceed the speed limit, even up to 179mph, the FAA doesn’t approve it. So many things could go wrong during flight at the top speed of a drone.
How fast do drone propellers spin?
The average spin of drone propellers is 8000rpm, which breaks down to 133 times per second.
Drone propellers use a specific speed spin to push down the air, so the drone goes up. The blade’s diameter is also a significant factor.
There’s more stability from a large diameter because it allows the drone to have more air contact, whereas it becomes hard for a drone with a smaller diameter to maneuver smoothly.
But, the smaller diameter causes the drone to speed up or slow down more effortlessly than its larger counterparts.
Above all, be careful when handling propellers in action because the 8000 rpm can cut your skin or even cause more severe injury.
What’s the fastest drone on the market?
Racing drones are the fastest in the market mainly because they are modifiable. The DRL RacerX has a maximum speed of 179mph.
With just 800 grams, this lightweight racing drone produces 46000rpm.
This shows how weight and better power play a significant role in ensuring a drone flies faster.
How to Make Your Drone Fly Faster
At times, the only remaining option is to buy a more powerful drone with a top speed.
However, before spending a lot on a more advanced drone, there are simple tips you can use to make your drone fly faster.
The battery’s charge determines how fast your drone can fly.
For starters, a battery needs to have a high capacity to make sure the drones can fly for longer.
Secondly, there’s the discharge rate, often labeled with a C. This is the rate at which the battery can burst out surges of power when the drone needs to accelerate.
The higher the discharge rate, the faster the drone will move. Damaged batteries will have reduced capacity and discharge rate.
While you can use the batteries provided by the manufacturer, sometimes getting more powerful aftermarket batteries is the only way to achieve higher speeds.
Notable drone racers have had to build or customize some parts of their drones, including batteries to compete in major competitions.
Reduce Unnecessary Accessories
Without a doubt, the average speed of your drone depends on the weight.
Straight from the box, your drone features a lot of components. But, some of these components are unnecessary and can increase your drone’s weight, making it fly slower.
Firstly, the prop guards should go because they are an added weight.
However, removing the prop guards is only advisable if you are comfortable flying without them since you risk damaging the drone or injuring yourself or others in case of a crash.
Also, if your drone is not for photography and filming, consider taking the gimbals or third-party cameras out, as they add extra weight.
Fortunately, some drones have removable cameras, making it easy to take them out without damaging the design.
Some attached accessories, like a GPS tracker, can increase the weight and reduce the top speed of a drone.
Fly in Appropriate Weather
Flying your drone in harsh wind and rain can be dangerous. But, your type of drone and wind speed determines if it’s safe to fly.
The general rule of thumb in flying when there’s wind is to ensure the wind speed is not over two-thirds of your drone.
Flying your drone on a calm, sunny day allows you to go faster and higher.
Wind is suitable, but you should ensure it’s not strong. The pilot also can see far and clearly when the weather is appropriate.
Change the Props and Motors
Any sign of propeller damage in shape, color, or noise, calls for immediate change.
Similarly, you need to replace the propeller if your drone is not as responsive as before.
Damaged or unresponsive propellers cannot fly effectively to achieve the average speed of a drone.
Motors work to spin the propellers to lift.
So, if the engines are not working with enough power, the propellers fail to cause lift, and the drone doesn’t leave the ground.
Still, the motors can fail when the drone is in flight which causes it to fly at a reduced speed.
Lift the Rear Props
Lifting the rear props gives it a pusher design. This makes them spin effectively using good pressure in a clockwise motion causing reduced drag.
Also, the pusher design provides improved visibility to the pilot, especially when there’s fog.
As a result, lifting rear props allow smooth and faster flow for high speed.
Get a Faster (More Advanced) Drone
Consider getting a more advanced model when you want a drone to work better for you.
The market has several drones that come with better speeds.
Usually, these advanced options are more expensive, but you can’t compare the quality and performance. In these cases, the motor is more powerful, and the size is compact and lightweight.
So, how fast do drones fly? The lowest speed is 15mph for beginner drones, while the highest is 130mph for racing drones.
Nonetheless, an average speed of 45mph is ideal for most pilots because they can control it better.
So, the main question should be what do you want your drone for?
It would be best to buy a drone that matches your requirements. Still, you can customize your drone by getting better propellers and motors to make it fly faster.
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