Aerial Drone Competition Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

AerialDroneComp_LogoFinal_2-color REC Hori Drone Logo 1  (3) - Copy.png

What is the Aerial Drone Competition?

Supported by the REC Foundation, the Aerial Drone Competition offers an exciting educational drone sporting event that focuses on hands-on, student-centered learning. 

Teams learn about drones, flight principles, programming, documentation, and communication skills while expanding their understanding of and building interest in drone-related workforce and career opportunities. 

Teams 

What age is the Aerial Drone Competition For?

The Aerial Drone Competition is recommended for students grades 5-12. 

How many students are on a team? 

We recommend 3-5 students per team. Each team needs one drone.

A school or organization can register multiple teams to accommodate student interest. Each school/organization registers a base number, such as 1234, and each team within that base number has a letter, such as 1234A, 1234B, etc. A base number can support up to 22 teams from a single organization. 

How much time do teams need to practice? 

This can vary from program to program based on resources and age of the students. A typical team will practice 2-4 hours per week after school. 

How do I register a team and how much does it cost? 

Visit RobotEvents.com to register. The cost is $175 per team for the 2024-2025 season.

A school or organization can register multiple teams to accommodate student interest. Each school/organization registers a base number, such as 1234, and each team within that base number has a letter, such as 1234A, 1234B, etc. A base number can support up to 22 teams from a single organization. 

Are there teams/events in my area? 

Aerial Drone Competition is a growing program at the REC Foundation, and we are expanding nationwide. We encourage you to check RobotEvents.com for the latest events. As this season gets underway, new teams and events will continue to be added. Please reach out to the program manager at drones@recf.org to discuss development in your area. 

Is there any training?

YES! Your Regional Support Manager(RSM) will provide you and your team support.  You can find your RSM's contact information here. We also invite you to review the following webinars and slide presentations:

Starting an Aerial Drone Competition Team 

Introduction to the CoDrone EDU

Equipment 

What equipment do I need to compete in the Aerial Drone Competition? 

A drone, controller, a computer for programming, and spare parts (batteries, motors, propellers). 

What drones are legal for competition? 

For the 2024-2025 Season, there are 2 legal drones: CoDrone EDU and CoDrone EDU (JROTC Edition).

Note: The JROTC edition was created to meet funding requirements for the JROTC programs. It’s the same drone as the CoDrone EDU, but with specific components sourced from different manufacturers to meet those requirements.

Where do I order drones? 

We recommend you purchase drones from Robolink.

How do I troubleshoot when my CoDrone EDU or controller isn’t working properly?

Solutions to the most common problems can be found at Robolink Website Help Page

What equipment do I need to set up a competition field?

There are two types of competition fields and each has a different layouts up: Piloting Teamwork Mission Field and Skills Mission Field.

You will need 

  • Field Element Kit(s) - $1000 (reused every year)
  • Game Element Kit - $350 (changes each season)
  • PVC Piping - approx - $200 (most is reused every year)

What is included in the Field Element Kit?

Each Field Element Kit has enough hardware to set up 1 Teamwork Mission Field or 1 Skills Mission Field.  If you want to set up both at the same time, you will need 2 Field Element Kits.

  • 3 Sets of Arch Gate Hardware
  • 5 Fabric Arch Gates (2 Red, 2 Blue, 1 Screen)
  • 2 Keyhole Gates (1 Yellow, 1  Green)
  • 2 Landing Pads (1 Red, 1 Blue)
  • 2 Small Cubes (1 Red, 1 Blue)
  • 2 Large Cubes (1 Red, 1 Blue)

Field Element Kit.PNG

 

What is included in the Game Element Kit?

The Game Element Kit for Mission 2025 will be available for pre-order in May and will be shipped in September when the new competition missions are announced.

Where do I purchase competition and game elements? 

You can purchase competition and game elements from Drone Competition Gates.

Does the field and game change each year? 

The competition elements (Arch Gates, Keyhole Gates, and Landing Pads) will be used from year to year. Each year we will reveal a new game that will include different game elements; therefore, new game elements will need to be purchased each year by the team/organization. 

I'm on a limited budget, do I need to purchase a field and game elements to compete?

While it helpful to have field and game element to practice with, it is not necessary! Many of our new teams start off by using pool noodles, hula hoops and boxes. Approximate measurements of the field elements can be found in the competition manual (coming in September 2024).

Competitions

Where can I read the rules for this year’s competition?

Mission 2025 rules will be announced in September.

Mission 2024: Eclipse Competition Manual can be found on the REC Foundation Aerial Drone Competition Webpage.

What is a competition like? 

Students participate in 4 missions at an Aerial Drone Competition:

  1. Piloting Teamwork Mission: An exciting challenge presented in the form of a game that changes each year. Two teams form an alliance and work together. Teams fly around the field to score as many points as possible during a 90 second match. 
  2. Autonomous Flight Mission: One team competes against the clock to score as many points as possible in a 1-minute match. Students will program their drones to score points entirely autonomously. 
  3. Piloting Skills Mission: One team competes against the clock to score as many points as possible in a 1-minute match. Students will pilot their drones to score points.
  4. Communication Mission: Students will showcase their workforce development skills through teamwork, critical thinking, project management, and communication skills that will assist in preparing them to become the next generation of innovators and problem solvers. Teams will be interviewed by judges and submit their Competition Logbook for evaluation. 

Competitions typically take place on Saturdays and run from approximately 8am - 4pm. 

What is the cost to attend competitions? 

Once your team is registered with the REC Foundation, the fee to attend a local competition varies by state and region. Registration fees for a competition typically range from $50 - $100 per team. Championship events may be more. Please visit RobotEvents.com to determine the cost of each event in your region. 

Where can I find a competition?

Visit RobotEvents.com to search for Aerial Drone Competitions near you. Don’t see an event near you? Consider being an event host! We’ll train and support you all along the way.

Championships

When/where are the Aerial Drone Competition Regional Championships? 

Plans are being made for the Mission 2025 Championships and will be announced in the fall of 2024.

Which Regional Championship can I attend?

Teams are assigned to regions and will be invited to the Regional Championship of their assigned region as shown on the map below.

MapChart Map.png

How do we earn a spot at a Regional Championship? 

Teams that earn selected awards at local qualifying events will be invited to their Regional Championship.  The number of teams and invitations issued depends on factors including:

  • # of Registered Teams
  • # of Events in a Region
  • Size of Regional Championship

More information will be available when Mission 2025 is released in September 2024

More Information

Where can I find more information?

Check out the Aerial Drone Competition Library for additional documentation for teams, event partners, judges, and volunteers.

How can I learn more? 

Contact your Regional Support Manager. Contact information can be found here or email drones@recf.org.