Manned racing drones such as the Alauda Airspeeder prototype are now achieving aggressive flight (watch above) and since 2018, RotorBuilds has featured a build list for a more docile manned hex. Manned racing drones can be built using off-the-shelf parts, bringing human flight within reach of the FPV builder community. If you want to build your own manned drone, below you will find comparison matrices for motors, ESCs, propellors and batteries as a guide (a good flight controller is the Pixhawk). This is followed by a proposed build list and a small taste of what it might feel like to race a manned racing drone.
Interactive matrices may take a few seconds to load… CLICK matrix for latest prices. Parts identified from Alauda Airspeeder, Electrafly, Flying Sled and Jetson Speeder videos, and Flying Bathtub RotorBuilds page. Data taken from manufacturer product descriptions. Many of the links on the tables are affiliate links. I receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking one of the affiliate links. Support FPVcompare directly by becoming a Patreon supporter.
Crude calculations by FPVcompare suggest you can create a manned racing drone with a thrust to weight ratio of 2.1 (including passenger) using these parts, though you will have to fabricate a custom frame. For reference, an Eachine Wizard X220 FPV racing drone has a t/w of 6.0, so expect more limited agility. For extra safety, you may want to consider caging the props (like a paramotor) or simply flying close to the ground or over water. Total parts cost? Expect to spend $20-25k depending on part choice.
Interactive figure may take a few seconds to load… CLICK figure for product links.
What might it feel like to fly a manned racing drone? The best reference is the Red Bull air race, where pilots experience up to ten times the force of gravity flying a giant race course of inflatable gates in a fixed wing aircraft (below).
If you’re new to FPV use the decision flowchart below to get flying.
Interactive CLICK flowchart for product or comparison matrix links. Download printable flowchart HERE. FPV = First person view, PNP = plug and play, which requires you purchase a seperate controller and receiver to plug into the multirotor flight controller then bind, bind & fly quads require you purchase and bind a seperate controller, LiPo = Lithium-polymer, Whoop = 55-75mm size multirotor with a 1S LiPo, Powerwhoop = 75mm whoop with a more powerful 2S LiPo. Cinewhoop = 75mm or above Powerwhoop with HD recording function. Flowcart inspired by Gulzar’s ‘Want to fly quadcopters’ flowchart at FPVfrenzy.