How fast can a quadcopter fly?

Introduction

Racing drones are becoming more and more popular, and it would not only be interesting to know, how fast they can really go, but also which parameters have a major impact on their maximum speed. When I searched in the net, I couldn’t find clear answers and had to work out something by myself; so here is my model. To be clear, my intention is not to get absolute precise numbers, but more to understand the physics behind, and to have a tool to get realistic estimates and comparisons of flight parameters for different quadcopter models. If you are not interested in the details, just scroll down to the end of the page, where I show the final formulas and some calculated examples.

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