Interested Team FAQ

Support Documentation & Learning Resources
Registration Fees & Payments
Team & Season Planning
Competition Events
Registration Kits
Replacement & Spare Parts Information
What’s NOT included in the kit
Support Documentation & Learning Resources

How can I get more information about competing in the Bell AVR Competition?

Email us at for additional information about the Bell AVR Competition.

How does “building a drone” work? Are there instructions, or do we have to start from scratch?

The Bell AVR Drone comes with a set of open-source instructions, designed to be a similar experience as building an R/C car.  We will show you where every component, screw, and wire goes!  

The documentation is intended to be comprehensive enough for teams who have no prior experience with drone design / construction to achieve “first flight” within the first few weeks of build season.  

The documentation will also include “send us feedback” links on every page - so, if you come across a step that is particularly confusing, or find a different way to approach a problem, you can let us know and we will be updating the documentation throughout the season for all teams to benefit from!

Build Instructions

What skills will teams need in order to follow the build instructions?

Teams will need the following skills in order to follow the build instructions:

  • Soldering 
  • 3D printing (.STL files provided)
  • Basic hardware assembly (screws, standoffs, nuts, etc)
  • Basic software installation and updating (unrestricted internet connection required)

What programming languages/environments are used?

The following programming languages/environments can be used:

  • Bell AVR Drone
    • Python, via VS Code
    • PC, Mac
  • Secondary drone (Tello EDU)
    • Scratch Blocks or JavaScript via DroneBlocks
    • PC, Mac,Chromebook, Android, iOS
  • Ground vehicles (Sphero RVR and Sphero Minis)
    • Scratch Blocks or JavaScript via Sphero Edu
    • PC, Mac, Chromebook, Android, iOS

What technical support will be available during the competition season?

Teams should first refer to the Assembly and Build Instructions for detailed information on how to build and program their vehicles.  Further technical support regarding the vehicles and Game Manual Questions on the Bell AVR Forum.

Registration Fees & Payments

What is the registration fee for new and returning teams?

New Team registration for this season will be $4,000 per team.  This registration fee includes:

  • Eligibility to participate in the Bell AVR Program
  • KOPs (Materials for competition vehicles)
  • (1) Bell AVR Event Registration 

Teams that participated in the 2022 Bell AVR season are eligible for the Returning Team registration at $2500 per team. This registration fee includes:

  • Eligibility to participate in the Bell AVR Program
  • (1) Bell AVR Event Registration

Is the registration payment due at the time of registration?

Generally, payment is required in order to ship the registration kit. However, we understand that school purchasing delays can happen, and we will do what we can to accommodate these situations case-by-case. We would still encourage you to go through the registration process on, choose "Pay Later”. However, this route includes the following caveats:

  1. Please be sure to inform your Bell AVR Regional Support Manager upon registering.
  2. There are a limited number of team seats available per region, due to kit and event size limitations. So, the best way to guarantee your spot will be to get payment in as soon as possible.
  3. Proof of payment pending will help with this process, such as PO request correspondence or an accounting contact within your purchasing department that we can follow up with directly.
  4. If you cannot guarantee payment at the time of registration, please contact your Bell AVR Regional Support Manager to request an exception.
Team & Season Planning

What is the overarching season timeline?

The 2023 season timeline:

  • March - Team Registration Opens  
  • July-August – Registration kits ship to registered teams (may be earlier depending on availability)
  • August 22 – 2023 Game release and season kickoff!
  • September-November – Build season
  • November – Competition season (see “Competition Events” for more details)
  • December 2 – Championship event

What type of time commitment is needed to be successful?

  • This will vary depending on every team’s individual circumstances, but in general, it can be viewed similarly to a typical robotics competition team schedule - 3-5 days each week of after-school meetings during the build/competition season, with some teams meeting on Saturdays or during class time when available.
  • Every team automatically receives registration for one qualifying event, and has the option to register for one additional event. All events are one full day and held on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

We’ve never had drones in our school. Are there any safety concerns involved?

  • Drones used in the Bell AVR competition are designed and intended for safe educational use, as long as standard safety "best practices" are followed! 
  • Teams must fly the Bell AVR drone inside of a netted enclosure, with prop guards securely mounted.  We recommend a standard netted pop-up tent or a commercially-available drone cage. 
  • Drone use at competition events may only be done under strict guidelines (e.g. props must be removed in the pit areas, the drone may only be powered on in certain areas, etc). Full details & information will be found in the Assembly Guide and Game Manual. 

What is the recommended/minimum/maximum team size?

The minimum number is 7 students, to support the 7-student drive team. If you have fewer than 7 students, your drive team may not be able to complete all of the challenges successfully. There is no maximum, but we would typically recommend no more than 10-15 students for a single team.

What is the intended age range?

  • High School students
  • There is no restriction if younger teams wish to participate, but it is not recommended due to the complexity of some of the challenges.
  • Not intended for university students.

Can I keep my current VEX team number or set a custom team number?

Yes. Please complete the registration process first and receive a generic number, and then contact your REC Foundation Team Engagement Manager to request a number change.

What type of practice/lab space is needed?

  • A standard engineering/robotics/shop classroom should be sufficient for preliminary build and testing (plenty of lab tables, power outlets, computers, etc).
  •  The absolute minimum space that would be recommended for basic indoor testing within a netted enclosure is roughly 12ft x 12ft x 8ft.
  • Outdoor flight is not recommended, and must still be done within a netted enclosure.
  • Although a realistic playing field is always helpful for practice, most teams do not find it necessary to build the full 15ft x 40ft x 15ft netted field.  Having enough space to simulate a “half field” (15ft x 20ft x 15ft) or focusing on individual field elements (ranging from less than 1ft x 1ft x 1ft to 4ft x 8ft x 8ft) should be sufficient for most teams.

Note: All dimensions above are listed as length-width-height, or X-Y-Z.

Competition Events

What is the competition season like? How many events are there? How often do teams compete?

Qualifying events are held each of the first three weekends in November.  The specific dates and locations are tentatively listed below but are subject to change.  

Events for the 2023 season will be located in Arlington, Texas and in Grandville, MI.

Note: Events with an asterisk (*) may be added, only if needed. 

  • Week 1: (Nov 3, 4, 5*) Arlington TX
  • Week 2: (Nov 10, 11, 12*): Arlington TX,  (Nov 10*, 11) Grandville MI
  • Week 3: (Nov 17, 18, 19*): Arlington TX, (Nov 17*, 19) Grandville MI

The season-culminating championship event is on Dec 2, 2023 in Arlington TX

One event is included in the team registration fee, and teams have the option to register for a second event for a $500 event fee.

  • If a team qualifies, the Championship event in December will be an additional $500.

What are competition events like?

  • Events are one day long, and are all held on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
  • All teams play up to 4 scheduled matches over the course of the day.
  • Teams will be expected to interview for judged awards.
  • Teams will have an assigned pit space, roughly 10ft x 10ft, with a table and a power outlet.
  • Events are free and open to the public. Spectator seating is available!

How do teams register for an event?

To register for an event, you will need to visit the page for the event (example) while logged in, and add your team to the waitlist.

First Event – Teams registering for their first event should be automatically moved from the waitlist to the “registered teams” list.

Second Event – Teams registering for their second event will receive an invoice for the $500 registration fee through RobotEvents before being added to the “registered teams” list.

Contact – The best resource for help with this process is going to be to contact your Bell AVR Regional Support Manager, who will answer any questions you may have!

Note: Events this season are held over one full day. Most weekends have two events held on back-to-back days so that fields can stay remain set up overnight, but these are not actually 2-day events.

How do teams qualify for the championship event?

Qualification criteria will be released alongside the rest of the game materials in August!

Registration Kits

One set of ground vehicles

  • 1x Sphero RVR
  • 3x Sphero Minis
  • Batteries, chargers, etc.

One secondary drone

  • 1x Tello EDU
  • 8x props
  • 4x Mission Pads
  • Battery / charger / etc

One Bell AVR Drone Kit

  • 1x carbon fiber quadcopter frame 
  • 4x brushless motors (BLDC motors)
  • 1x 4-in-1 electronic speed control (ESC)
  • 1x Pixhawk 5X flight controller
  • 1x Jetson Nano 4GB Developer Kit
  • 1x Stereolabs ZED Mini camera
  • 2x additional cameras
  • 2x 14.8V 5200mAh 135 C batteries
  • 1x 100W AC/DC battery charger
  • 8x 10-inch props
  • 1x transmitter / receiver / telemetry radio
  • 1x peripheral control computer (Adafruit Feather M4 Express and Featherwing kit)
  • 4x peripheral servos
  • 2x game-specific peripheral sensors
  • 1x NeoPixel 8x LED stick
  • 1x NeoPixel 0.5m LED string
  • All necessary hardware (nuts, screws, etc) and wiring

Missing Parts Information

Once your team receives your kit of parts (KOPs), please carefully check to ensure that you have received all of the parts.  A visual KOPs list will be included with your shipment.  If you are missing any parts or if you find any of the parts damaged upon arrival, please complete the form within two weeks of receiving your KOPs.

Bell AVR Missing/Damaged KOP Request Form

This form is to be completed ONLY if a team notices that they are missing a part when they receive their kit or if the part was broken upon arrival.   More information on how to acquire replacement parts during the season can be found on the Bell AVR Website.

  • Please ensure only one person from your team submits a missing/damaged part request.
  • Multiple submissions for the same request may increase the response time.
  • Requests should be made from a contact associated with the team in within two weeks of when the kit arrives.

Additional Parts for Competing

The KOPs provides the foundational functionality to compete in the Bell AVR Competition, but there are opportunities to use the engineering design process to increase the functionality to perform specific game tasks. Parts to complete these tasks may not be included in the KOP and teams will need to procure those parts and ensure they are consistent with the Bell AVR Game Manual rules for the current season. The Bell AVR Forum is a great place to discuss design ideas within the community and help troubleshoot technical issues that are not covered in the Assembly Guide.

Replacement & Spare Parts Information

Can we purchase additional AVR Drone Kits?

Teams that have registered and paid for the current season that would like to purchase additional AVR Drone kits can submit a request using the form link below.  

Additional AVR Drone Kit Order Request Form

  • Quantities are limited and orders will be fulfilled based on a few factors including:
    • Availability of kit inventory: Extra kits for sale will depend upon how many kits are remaining after New Teams have been allocated their kits.
    • Team need: RECF will be prioritizing providing equipment to returning teams that have significantly broken drones from last season that cannot be repaired.  
    • Date of form submission  
  • Initially, teams will be limited to 1 additional AVR Drone kit for the season, but additional kits may be available for purchase after September 1st if there are remaining kits available.
  • At this time, only registered and paid 2023 Bell AVR Competition returning teams are eligible to purchase an AVR Drone Kit from the REC Foundation.
  • The Additional AVR Drone Kit Order Request form should only be completed by a contact associated with a team in
  • Each AVR Drone Kit will be $1,500 and the kit does NOT include the secondary vehicles (Tello drone or Sphero vehicles).  If your team would like additional secondary vehicle equipment, that will be considered on a case-by-case basis for an additional cost.
  • Kits will be shipped after the team registration closes to ensure new team orders are fulfilled.  This could be as late as August or September depending on current inventory. 

How do we order spare parts or replacement parts for items in our kit?

The process for ordering spare and replacement parts has changed for the 2023 season.  Teams will be responsible for purchasing spare or replacement commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) parts this season.  The REC Foundation will provide part information to assist with ordering COTS parts in the spreadsheet below.

2023 Bell AVR Part Information Spreadsheet

  • The part links provided are suggested places to purchase the parts, but RECF does not guarantee that these parts will be available.  
  • If the link provided no longer has inventory, your team should use the part information to seek alternative suppliers.
  • Teams should anticipate what parts they may need in advance, since some of these parts may have limited availability or long shipping times. 
  • It is unlikely that the REC Foundation will be able to provide last-minute part requests prior to events or bring extra parts to events due to limited inventory.  
  • Any part requests sent to will be referred to the spreadsheet link for teams to purchase the parts directly from suppliers or resellers.

Quad Standard Labs (QSL) is a drone parts reseller in the Austin, Texas area.  They are a great resource for purchasing parts if you like to bundle orders under one reseller, although they may not have all the parts included in the bill of materials.

If a part is a custom part (not COTS), review the notes section in the spreadsheet on suggestions for finding or making a replacement part.  A selection of the AVR Drone custom parts may be available from the REC Foundation for replacement for damaged parts. 

AVR Drone Custom Part Replacement Request Form

This form is to be completed ONLY if a team has a damaged custom part they need to be replaced. Damaged parts will need to be sent back to the REC Foundation. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide extra custom parts for spares at this time.

  • Please ensure only one person from your team submits a custom part replacement request.
  • Multiple submissions for the same request may increase the response time.
  • REC Foundation has a limited quantity of custom parts. If no parts are in stock, teams may be given recommendations on alternatives to purchase or instructions on how to manufacture the parts in-house.
  • REC Foundation does not guarantee availability of custom parts. Teams should take special care not to damage custom parts.
What’s NOT included in the kit

Netted tent/enclosure for testing

We recommend a standard netted pop-up tent or a commercially-available drone cage.

Field elements

  • There will be CAD and specifications for a “team version” of the playing field posted upon game launch, that can be built from “off-the-shelf” materials like plywood and PVC pipe.
  • There are two field / game elements that drones will interact with.  Teams will receive samples in their registration kit, and links will be provided to commercially available equivalents once the game is released. 

Additional Items Not included

  • Laptops / tablets
  • Soldering supplies
  • 3D printing supplies
  • Metric hex keys/wrenches recommended (mostly M2.5 and M3 sizes)
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