Drone Physics

Unleashing Your Quad’s Full Potential – It’s All About the Physics

These frequently overlooked concepts will improve overall performance of your quadcopter. Having a basic understanding of the physics involved with your quad will show you the impact of cross sections, center of gravity/thrust alignment, and air drag have on the speed and maneuverability of your quad.

The best lessons to learn in this series is that drag is important (extremely important) when it comes to speed (see the #1 failure of frame design) AND that thrust does not correlate to faster top speeds.

Time is limited at the moment, but I hope to eventually add a section on weight AND weight distribution (currently working on the calculations). These two aspects are very important when it comes to a quad’s responsiveness but not so much when it comes to top speed.


Part 1: Propeller RPM and Pitch 

  • These 2 factors are the most important when it comes to speed


Part 2: Propeller Thrust

  • Thrust helps out only slightly for top speed


Part 3: Forces of Flight

  • A basic understanding of the forces acting on quadcopters


Part 4: Center of Thrust and CG

  • The key to enabling your flight controller to utilize all your available motor power


Part 5: Drag

  • Drag robs our quadcopter’s speed and acceleration

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Part 6: Air Drag and Cross Sections


Part 7: The Equations for Speed

  • A deeper look into the relationship of all the factors discussed above