Can your drone match these UK speed records?

A national UK drone club has an ongoing competition among its members: Whose drone holds the speed record? We’ll take a look at the records, and learn about the background behind this good-natured rivalry.

A lot of us like to go full throttle from time to time. Flying a drone quickly is a blast, and it’s always interesting to see what speed you can attain. A national drone club in the UK has taken this a step further. It maintains a leaderboard of the fastest flights for each model of drone among its members. We thought it would be interesting to look at the story behind that leaderboard, along with the record speeds. Interestingly, we wound up in contact with the club after its founder came across our story yesterday about that mind-blowing speed record achieved by a “Dynamic Soaring” glider.

So: On your marks, get set, Read!

The Grey Arrows drone club

The Grey Arrows drone club describes itself as “The Premier Club for UK Drone Enthusiasts.” It was started by Rich Kavanagh, who was kind enough to answer a few questions for DroneDJ. We started with just a basic one about how and why the club came about.

I started the Grey Arrows Drone Club back in August 2017 so we’ve been around for 3.5yrs or so.  The reason for starting it was simply because there wasn’t a UK-wide club. There were a few smaller, regional clubs, but nothing that catered for everyone in the UK. We’re at just over 6k members now. 

Rich Kavanagh

Rich loves to fly drones, and has a pretty impressive collection:

Rich Kavanagh sent us this photo. Nice fleet!

I’ve been flying drones for about five years now. My go-to drones are now the Autel Evo II Pro as it “just works” and doesn’t force me to update the firmware every time I turn it on,  and the second go-to is the DJI Mini 2.  It’s portability is amazing, it literally fits in your pocket. It’s also now an ideal drone for flying here in the UK as the regulations changed quite significantly on 1st Jan this year (re EASA, etc).

Rich Kavanagh

And the leaderboard?

We asked Rich how it got started:

The “Breaking the Speed Limit” leaderboard started as a bit of fun in the summer of 2018. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have a Drone Code in place which all drone operators must adhere to and some of the rules and restrictions are quite strict, and rightly so. However, the one thing the Drone Code doesn’t enforce is the speed at which you’re allowed to fly a drone. So just for a bit of fun, we set up a leaderboard to first of all find out which make and model drone is the fastest, but to also introduce bit of a challenge with our members to see who has the fastest drone. It’s grown organically from there.

Rich Kavanagh

How do you verify speeds?

When we first started we would just ask for a screen shot from DJI GO4 or whatever app people were using. However, every now and then you get the odd GPS error – just for a split second or so – but it meant the recorded top speed of that flight was often crazy high for that drone model. Eg. A DJI Spark topping 70mph. To rule out such errors, and as people got more competitive, we now ask for a flight log to be submitted with all entries.

Rich Kavanagh
Some of the data you’ll see in a typical leaderboard posting…

Let’s take a look at the records

The records are all on the club’s Breaking the Speed Limit page. Here are screen grabs of the current records:

See your drone model in there?
And there you have it…

Wait a minute – I’m faster than that!

Are you? Then you might qualify for bragging rights, or at least for a Speed Freak badge, if you submit your data to the Grey Arrows Drone Club.

Sorry, only results for UK residents will be posted to the leaderboard.