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Organizing a NodeCopter event

Interested in organizing your own NodeCopter event? Read this page to find out how.

  1. Introduction
  2. Qualifications
  3. Core Values
  4. Budget
    1. Venue
    2. Drinks And Lunch
    3. Example Budget
  5. Financing
    1. Finding Sponsors
    2. Using Existing Drones
  6. Venue
  7. Tickets
  8. Purchase
  9. Setup The Drones
    1. Upgrade the firmware
    2. Rename the Wi-Fi
  10. Setup The Venue
    1. Have a battery/repair station
    2. Have a separate flying area
    3. Setup the hacking tables
    4. General
  11. Schedule
  12. MiniNodeCopter


The following material was written to serve as guidelines for organizing your own NodeCopter event. These are experiences from past NodeCopter events - abiding by these guidelines should put you in a good position to host an event that your attendees and you yourself will like.

However, you are free to organize your event any way you like. There are only a few qualifications that you must abide by.


In order to organize an event using the NodeCopter name and brand for the first time, you should follow these steps:

  1. If you can, get one person with experience organizing events to help you, ideally someone who has already attended or organized a NodeCopter event. However, this is optional.
  2. Read all the information on this page.
  3. Send an email to to discuss your event before announcing it.

Core Values

Anybody organizing a NodeCopter event should agree with this:


There are essentially four big items that you need to budget for:

Additionally you should add an extra ~15% to your budget for overhead:

If you want a quick estimate, check our example budget.


Ideally you can find a local company to provide a nice venue for free.

If you cannot find a free venue, you should:

Some venues may also like the idea of people taking photos & videos of their venue from positions & angles that are only reachable with the drones.

If you need money to pay for your venue, you need to find sponsors.

Drinks and lunch

To let people focus on programming the drones, you should provide drinks (water, soft drinks, maybe beer in the evening) and lunch.

You can do this in one of two ways:

Your ticket price should be set to exactly cover the drinks and food. Make sure you keep VAT / sales tax in mind when calculating this.

Drones and parts

In order to have a great day, you will want to ensure there are enough batteries, chargers and repair parts to provide a smooth experience.

For this reason you want to have:

While Parrot is selling all drone parts that are required to build a drone from scratch, you should only buy these parts:

You can also buy other parts, but please consider:

Please refer to the purchase section regarding tips for buying your drones and parts.

Example Budget

To give you an idea of what the total budget for an event could look like, here is an example for a NodeCopter with 30 people:

Total: 5600 USD (hard costs) + 990 USD (15% overhead) = 6590 USD

This is just an example, but 2500 USD - 10000 USD is a reasonable ball bark for most NodeCopter events.

But don’t be scared, just read the financing part of this page to see how you can pull this off.


As you have seen in the example budget, putting on a NodeCopter event will typically cost 2500 - 10000 USD.

Here is how you can raise money for your event:

Finding Sponsors

Ask local (or not-so-local) tech companies if they want to sponsor your event. Try to offer them attractive sponsoring packages so they can get some value from sponsoring a NodeCopter event. Packages may look like the following:

Using Existing Drones

Ask around in your local tech scene (or attendees!) if someone already has an AR.Drone they can provide for the event. This way you can lower the amount of drones that you have to buy. Make sure to also buy spare parts and batteries for drones that other people bring, because breaking and not fixing someone else’s drone is not cool.


A venue for a NodeCopter event should ideally meet the following requirements:

In general it’s recommended to bring your drone to the venue beforehand and do some test flights.

Example: Berlin

NodeCopter Berlin Venue



Example: Dublin

NodeCopter Dublin Venue




Since NodeCopter events are events for the community and not for profit the ticket prices for an event should be used to cover the costs only.

Try to get sponsors and other financing first and then set the ticket price so you can cover the rest of the costs (food and drinks).

Most NodeCopter events charge 25 - 50 USD for a ticket, depending on the size of the event. That’s a good range for ticket prices and doesn’t harm the community spirit of NodeCopter.

We can recommend using for selling the tickets to your NodeCopter event.


The easiest way to purchase drones is by using Amazon in your country. They should have the drones and spare parts in stock.

An even better option would be to search for local distributors of AR.Drones and see if you can buy some drones for non-retail prices. Make sure to tell them that the drones are not intended for resale and used for a non-profit community event!

Setup the drones

Before having your NodeCopter event, you should follow these few steps to set up the drones:

Upgrade the firmware

Rename the Wi-Fi

Setup the Venue

Some tips on setting up the venue:

Have a battery/repair station

Set a table aside which you’ll use a battery charging station, repair station and question station. That way you have one place where the attendees can get fresh batteries, repair the drones and ask questions.

Have a separate flying area

In order to prevent accidents create a separate flying area. That way you won’t have drones crashing into humans or laptops.

Setup the hacking tables

Setup the tables in a way that a team of 3 to 4 hackers has enough space to have a drone on the table and their laptops. Have enough power sockets available for each table, since every attendee probably has one laptop and one mobile device that need recharging. Don’t separate teams too much, because sharing and exchange is a big part of a successful NodeCopter event.


Make sure you know your way around the venue, so you can answer organizational questions like where drinks, toilets and the smoking area are.


After organizing several NodeCopter events, we found it works best to follow a rough schedule to make a NodeCopter day as much fun as possible.

The following is a suggested example schedule:

9.30am - Open The Doors

Let the attendees in so they can setup their workstations and find teams.

10am - Official Start & Introduction

As an organizer it’s wise to give a short presentation (10-15min) about NodeCopter and what’s going to happen today. Experience has shown, that the following bullet points should be explained in the presentation, so everybody can have fun:

10.15am - Forming Of Teams

Ask the attendees to form teams of 3-4 people. Help people without a team to join an existing team.

Maybe offer suggestions as to what the teams could hack on, which modules already solved problems some teams are going to face, ask already formed teams if they already have an idea of what they will do and maybe get attendees without a team interested.

10.30am - Start hacking!

Hand out the drones to the teams and let the hacking begin!

1pm - Lunchtime

Time to offer a break between all the hacking and the flying robots. Check out the Drinks And Lunch part to see how to pull this off.

6pm - The Final: Drinks & Demos

Tell the teams that the day is coming to a close. If a team wants to demonstrate what they were working on that day, they have the stage and can show off what crazy stuff their drone can do!

Experience has shown that it’s best to only allow visitors for the demo time. Having visitors before that usually interrupts the focus of the hacking groups.


If you want to organize a NodeCopter event as fast a possible, or are lacking the qualifications to put on a full event, you should consider doing a MiniNodeCopter.

A MiniNodeCopter is just like a full NodeCopter event, except smaller. The maximum size is for a MiniNodeCopter is:

You still need to register your event with, and you should have attended a previous NodeCopter event.

Another advantage of doing a MiniNodeCopter is that you will need to spend significantly less time on raising money, promoting the event, finding a venue and putting the whole thing together.