Team FAQ

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 and building interest for Drone-related workforce and career opportunities. 


What age is the Aerial Drone Competition For?

The Aerial Drone Competition is designed for middle and high school students.  We do have some upper elementary students successfully competing as a middle school team (grades 4-6). See the game manual for exact rules on ages.

How many students are on a team? 

We recommend 3-5 students per team. Each team has 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 to register. 

The first team to register for a base number is $200.00 (US).  Additional teams may be added to the original base number for an additional cost of $150.00 (US) each. After 4 additional teams have been added to the same base number, registrations for teams 5-22 are free for that base number.

  • One team registration is $200 
  • Two (2) teams registration is $350 
  • Three (3) teams registration is $500 
  • Four to Twenty-Two (22) Teams registration is $650 (New for 2022-2023, Organization Flat Rate)

Are there teams/events in my area? 

Aerial Drone Competition is a developing program at the REC Foundation, and we are growing nationwide. We encourage you to check 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 to discuss development in your area. 


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 2022-2023 Season, there are 2 legal drones: the CoDrone EDU and the Parrot Mambo.

Where do I order drones? 

The CoDrone EDU can be ordered from Robolink for $214.99. The Parrot Mambo has been discontinued and is out of stock.

Is the CoDrone EDU 889 Compliant?

Our Partners at Robolink, will have an 889 complaint drone ready for the 2023-2024 Season.

Where do I purchase a field and game elements? 

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

Does the field and game change each year? 

The field 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. 


Where can I read the rules for this season’s game?

The Mission 2023: Blackout Game Manual is posted on the REC Foundation Aerial Drone Competition Page.  Teams have the opportunity to ask for official rule interpretations and clarifications on the Official Q&A, which is an extension of the Game Manual.  

When does the season begin? 

2022-2023 Aerial Drone Competition - Timeline 

  • September: Season Kick off and 2022-2023 Game Reveal
  • October-March: Local Qualifying Tournaments
  • April-May: Championship Events 

What is a competition like? 

The Aerial Drone Competition includes three competitions at one event! 

  1. Piloting and Teamwork Competition:  An exciting challenge presented in the form of a game that changes each year. For the 2022 -2023 Season, four drones made up of two alliances fly around the field to score as many points as possible during a 2-minute match. The object of the game is for an alliance to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance. The 2022-2023 Game Rules were revealed in September 2022. 
  2. Autonomous Flight Competition:  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. Judging:  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 documentation for evaluation. 

Competitions typically take place on a Saturday and run from approximately 8am - 4pm.  Some areas also have a league format where teams meet 4-5 times after school over a period of time to compete (typically two months).

What is the cost to attend competitions? 

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


When/Where are the Aerial Drone Competition Championship events? 

There are currently 4 Championship events planned for the Mission 2023 Blackout Season.

DateChampionship NameHosted ByLocation
April 15-16PerseveranceTX-924 Air Force JROTCKempner High School Sugar Land, Texas 
April 21-22OpportunityMississippi National Guard172nd AirwingJackson Air National Guard BaseFlowood, Mississippi
May 13-14IngenuityKettering UniversityConnie & Jim John Recreation CenterFlint, Michigan
May 19-20DragonflyNASA Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V) Facility Education Resource CenterFairmont State UniversityFalcon CenterFairmont, West Virginia

How do we earn a spot at a Championship Event? 

Our team is working hard with teams and event partners nationwide to create the season. At this time, the plan is most events will qualify teams to Aerial Drone Competition Championship events. Click on the Awards tab for the event at for details on which spots qualify for Championship events. 

Final qualifying spots will be announced on January 6, 2023.

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 the Aerial Drone Program Manager at

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram