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Fastest Civilian Drones in the World

Updated on April 18, 2018
Savio Dawson profile image

Savio is a resident of Mumbai, India. Cars, bikes, and everything fast are his passion, and he writes about them on many sites.

Introduction

In one of my recent articles on military drones, we saw that those beasts could do more than Mach 20, almost in the ballistic missiles’ speed range.

You can read about the military drones here

Like in most cases, civilian drones are the civilian adoption of a military tool and are quite popular at that. Does the adoption also copy the speed of the military drones? Probably not, but these miniature copters are quite fast. Also, contests like those hosted by Drone Racing League only will bring out faster and faster drones. Not only will faster drones come up but more racing leagues will too. Can you, therefore, imagine the permutations and combinations of the number of faster drones? Dubai is the latest to host drone racing and anyone who knows Dubai would also know that this is the land of the biggest, fastest, tallest and broadest things. Everyone would have heard of the Burj Khalifa or the Palm Jumeirah – both in Dubai, by the way. So our chances of having the fastest drones coming from there cannot be ruled out.

Our hypothesis is also corroborated by the fact that Guinness is being approached quite frequently now for drone speed; in fact, our second drone on the list is the current Guinness World Record holder, yet, another drone has already gone faster. I bet you are now curious to know the drones and their speeds, right?

So let me get into discussing these interesting pieces of art only with one caveat – this list will change quite fast in light of what we just discussed. So keep coming back to check if the positions have changed.

Now let’s get on with the list.

1. VXR - 190

VXR - 190
VXR - 190

The VXR – 190 is a drone developed by Ryan L, who has held back from approaching Guinness yet. He claims that he can make the VXR go even faster and then take it for registering the record. So, the work in store is to get the VXR more power as much as doing the next run in less windy conditions. Take a look at the video to get a hang.

  • Name: VXR - 190
  • Top Speed: 172.18 mph or 277.21 kmph
  • Record Speed: 165.8 mph or 266.94 kmph
  • Operating Range: Not known. The test flight happened over 100 meter
  • Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • Price: Not Available for purchase
  • Status: Prototype

To his credit, Ryan has still measured the speed the same way that Guinness would do, i.e. two-way flight over 100 meters and then average the speed. The speed was measured by an onboard GPS device. The average speed therefore measured was 165.8 mph, just a trifle over the Racer X. We will look at the Racer X, next.

2. DRL - Racer X

DRL - Racer X
DRL - Racer X

Let’s talk about our current Guinness World record holder for being the fastest drone in the world [Sorry VXR]. The record flight was at 263 kmph while it was capable of going as fast as 289 kmph. To put things in perspective, if readers have gone through the list of military drones, you would realize that the Racer X is faster than the last three military drones. That’s how fast the Racer X is, however, the military drones can travel further. Remember that the Racer X is a remote-controlled drone and hence its range is limited to the signal range.

  • Name: DRL Racer X
  • Top Speed: 179.6 mph or 289.16 kmph
  • Record Speed: 163.5 mph or 263.24 kmph
  • Operating Range: Not known. The test flight happened over 100 meter
  • Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • Price: Not Available for purchase
  • Status: Prototype

While I did mention that these drones are the civilian version, I had hardly mentioned that they could be purchased from the market. No, you don’t require a gun license to buy them (on a lighter note). You can simply get on Amazon and buy them online; not the Racer X, though. Also, flying at such high speeds usually burns up a drone, so kudos to the Racer X for holding its own at that speed.

Note: In the article on the fastest military drones, we understood the difference between an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Drone. All the civilian drones that we are discussing here require a remote pilot hence they are technically a UAV, but for simplicity, we will call them drones.

3. Speedy Gonzalas

Speedy Gonzalas
Speedy Gonzalas

This is the next drone in the list and existed as the unofficial speed record holder before the Racer X. This is the speed that Racer X beat to make it to the Guinness. The top speed for this little monster is 145 mph. Take a look at the video to get a sense of its speed.

  • Name: Speedy Gonzalas
  • Top Speed: 145 mph or 233 kmph
  • Record Speed: Same as top speed
  • Operating Range: 800 meter
  • Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • Price: Not Available for purchase
  • Status: Prototype

Sounds like baby Ferrari

The record run was measured by the onboard GPS system. Speedy Gonzalas has a battery which was custom built by its pilot Patrick Gaborik. Incidentally, this drone too is faster than few of the military drones that we had seen.

4. Diatone Crusader GT2 200

Diatone Crusader GT2 200
Diatone Crusader GT2 200

The Diatone is next in the overall list with a top speed of 90 mph. The only aspect of the speed is that it is not something the manufacturer has given but the ones users have measured by themselves. On the net, readers will come across various users stating speed as recorded by them, but the average is around 90 mph.

  • Name: Diatone Crusader GT2 200
  • Top Speed: 99 mph or 159.4 kmph
  • Record Speed: 89 mph or 143.3 kmph [as recorded by a user]
  • Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • Operating Range: 800-1000 meter
  • Price: USD 480
  • Status: In Production

This is a drone available for purchase and most of the purchased ones are used for racing by racing enthusiasts. There is a portion of the population which buys this drone for its camera. It could be used to monitor your farm or house, as need be.

5. DRL - Racer 3

DRL - Racer 3
DRL - Racer 3

The Racer 3 is the base version based on which the Racer X was created. Much like the Racer X, the Racer 3 is also a prototype built for racing at the Drone Racing League (DRL). The top speed of this drone is 85 mph.

  • Name: Racer 3
  • Top Speed: 85 mph or 136.9 kmph
  • Record Speed: Same as above
  • Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • Operating Range: 800-1000 meter
  • Price: Not Available
  • Status: Prototype

It is claimed that the Racer 3 can go from 0-80 mph in less than a second. That is mind-boggling! The only other place where I have heard of such superb acceleration is while discussing the Problem Child. Problem Child is a boat which can do 0-400 kmph within 3.5 seconds; phenomenal to say the least! Don’t even bother comparing the speed of the Racer 3 with anything else running on land. There is simply no vehicle there to match Racer 3’s speed, barring Thrust SSC of course, the supersonic car.

You can read about the Problem Child here

[P.S. -Don’t forget to take a look at the video of Problem Child accelerating]

Also, read about the Thrust SSC here

[See the video to hear the sonic boom as the car breaks the sound barrier]

Special Mention: Gemo Copter

Gemo Copter
Gemo Copter

It would have been a bit unfair to complete the list without a mention of the Gemo Copter. This is one other drone which holds the record for the fastest climb. The Gemo Copter was developed by Dirk Brunner, a German researcher. After many iterations and pushing the components to its limits, Dirk ended up developing the Gemo Copter. The Gemo Copter ascents at 119 mph, thus making it to the official Guinness Record Books.

  • Name: Gemo Copter
  • Top Speed: 119 mph or 191.6 kmph for vertical ascent
  • Record Speed: Same as above
  • Type: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • Operating Range: Not Available
  • Price: Not Available
  • Status: Prototype

Guinness measures such records by tracking the flight up to a height of 100m which gives the speed of climb. The record for a civilian UAV for its ascent to 100 meters, therefore belongs to the Gemo, doing it in a little over 3 seconds. Just for comparison, the Phantom F-4, a retired U.S. fighter aircraft, did a climb to 15,000 meters in 77.2 seconds which translates to half a second to 100 meters. Now, that is an aircraft which could do Mach speed. The humble Gemo in comparison with a fraction of the power took only 2.5 seconds more. How’s that for the record?

Get the Drones Back

One thing about civilian drones is that they can be developed by anyone out there and hence the ingenuity of so many people can lead to just one thing – faster and faster drones. Actually, no individual working on a drone is planning to do anything but increasing its speed, it is only the companies producing these drones who are looking at improving other parameters like the camera, range, frequency, etc. So, this list is bound to change and change fast, faster than any fastest list that I have so far made; time for me to come out with a fastest changing fastest list. I guess that was a tongue twister. Hope readers enjoyed the article!

Which Drone impressed you the most?

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© 2018 Savio Koman

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