A father and son designed the world’s fastest quadcopter drone

Peregrine 2 averaged 298.47 mph across its two fastest flights. Luke Bell/YouTube

A father-and-son team recently set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest quadcopter drone, speeding past the previous title holder. After months of fiery trial-and-error, Luke and Mike Bell’s remote-controlled Peregrine 2 design buzzed through the air at a ridiculous 298 mph.

While the team’s four-propellor drone achieved its top speed back on April 21, Luke Bell posted his project rundown and Guinness confirmation earlier this week on YouTube. According to Bell, there was a lot to overcome before they even managed to get their design airborne without bursting into flames.

First was the fact that Bells lacked a proper wind tunnel to test out their various aerodynamic design ideas. Instead, they worked with what they had—their 3D-printed prototypes, a car, and an open stretch of highway. While one Bell stepped on the accelerator, the other held each quadcopter frame model out an open window, then filmed its interaction with increased wind speeds. Meanwhile, battery tests kept ending in fiery failures until the Bells eventually believed they found a system that worked.

After settling on a final schematic, the Bells installed the necessary wiring, motor components, and propellers, then subjected the drone to its first test flight. Unfortunately, they didn’t solve for the interior heat caused by the amount of electrical current flowing through the system. With temperatures reaching as high as 266 degrees Fahrenheit, the drone’s wiring ignited and sent their first attempt crashing towards the ground.

After briefly considering giving up on their goal, the Bells went back to the drawing board, constructed a second iteration, and launched the new quadcopter—which promptly burst into flames, as well. This caused the pair to “completely redesign the whole drone body,” according to Luke. More testing and design tweaks followed, but after weeks of work, they believed they finally had a quadcopter ready to take the world record spot.

[Related: Swiss students just slashed the world record for EV acceleration.]

After assembling multiple independent witnesses (a Guinness World Record requirement) Peregrine 2 was ready to soar. The drone flew a total of four runs, with the two fastest flights’ average clocking in at 298.47 mph. At nearly 65 mph over the previous world record, there was no doubt about the new champion—in not one, but two categories.

Because the Bells equipped Peregrine 2 with a camera to document its flights, the quadcopter also technically beat yet another world record, this time for the fastest camera drone. Not bad for air times that only lasted a few blinks of an eye.

“Three months of hard work, failures, and engineering would ultimately come down to a few seconds of high speed flying,” said Luke in his video rundown.