Manned class racing drone prototypes have arrived and are achieving aerobatic flight (watch above). Alauda Racing from Australia was the first to demonstrate a manned racing drone with their prototype Airspeeder, whilst more recently Drone Champions League from Germany demonstrated aerobatic flips and rolls with their prototype. The table below shows how the published specifications for the two prototypes compare.
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Manned class drones can be built using off-the-shelf parts. One example is a manned multirotor called the ‘flying bathtub‘, which has been listed on RotorBuilds since 2018. We’ve created our own design for a manned racing drone with a thrust to weight ratio of 2.1, though a custom frame needs to be fabricated (see diagram below). For comparison, a typical FPV racing drone has a thrust/weight of 6.0 or above, so expect less agility than an FPV racing or freestyle drone.
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What might it feel like to fly a manned racing drone? The best reference is the now discontinued Red Bull air race, where pilots experienced up to ten times the force of gravity flying between giant inflatable gates in a fixed wing aircraft (below).
If you’re looking for the ultimate vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for personal use, look no further than a decommissioned Harrier Jump Jet. A retired US navy pilot purchased his own Harrier and restored it to operational flight, now flying the monster jet aircraft at air shows (below).
Next, use our flowchart to explore FPV drone technology.