Valley News -

By Diane Sieker

Anza teen designs state of the art drone


Last updated 1/11/2019 at 1:03am

Courtesy photo

From left to right, Drew Camden, president of Rotor Riot; designer Sam Tucker; YouTube producer Joshua Bardwell and sponsored team pilot David Tucker take a picture at Kwad Camp in Hesperia in December 2018.

Anza is home to a number of talented, creative, brilliant and famous residents. And among these notable people is a quiet 17-year-old who has successfully designed, built, marketed and caught the attention of professionals in his chosen field. This young man's name is Sam Tucker.

"I started designing things at the age of 13, when I decided to design and build a 1/18 scale F1 radio-controlled car out of parts I had lying around," Tucker said. "The design was poor to say the least, but this project sparked my love for design."

Using state-of-the-art professional grade computer-aided design software, Tucker honed his skills, focusing on the RC field, including drones. He saw improvements that could be made in the quadcopter market, and he set to work rethinking the industry standards.

"For me design is a passion, and I love everything about it," he said. "Everything from the long sleepless nights of brainstorming to the many hours of clicking away on the computer. The feeling that you get from creating things using nothing but your imagination is truly indescribable."

Tucker's first commercial product was a frame for building custom, high-end freestyle drones for acrobatic competitions, called the Hornet FS 277. He has direct buyers from Europe and Australia, in addition to fans throughout the United States and a retailer that carries his design.

"A major distributor was in negotiations to distribute the Hornet," his father Bryan Tucker said. "But their product approval board was unwilling to sign a deal with a minor, even if we formed a corporation for him. The founder of the distribution company has publicly stated he believes Sam's product is hands-down the best product on the market in its segment. That founder had one of the icons of the industry, Joshua Bardwell, give Sam a shoutout on social media as an up and coming young designer. Sam got to meet Bardwell in person at the Hesperia Kwad Camp event in December 2018."

At Kwad Camp, Sam Tucker and his older brother David got hands-on experience fine tuning quadcopter electronics with industry leaders. They met some of their heroes, who were very encouraging about the future of his business, he said. One of them, a well-known pilot, shared sales numbers of his recently released signature frame and encouraged Tucker with the knowledge that the distribution deal that fell through was a big-time deal and to hang in there till he becomes an adult.

Tucker and his brother started their entrepreneurial efforts in their early teens, trapping gophers, expanding to weed abatement and odd jobs. Gopher trapping paid for the 3D printer he currently uses in part of his prototyping process. His brother has moved on to other full-time work, but Sam Tucker continues to serve local clients to fund his other entrepreneurial endeavors. Clients can still reach him at "AnzaBrothers" on Facebook.

"I know my son will succeed as an entrepreneur," Bryan Tucker said. "because he has more discipline, dedication and passion than most adults."

Besides having professionals touting his projects, Tucker said he is working on more all the time, including a potential endeavor he's still in negotiations on, a very large drone recovery vehicle frame. The potential client owns a crop survey business using drones and sometimes the survey craft goes down in fields, Tucker said. The challenge is to design a large quadcopter that can recover downed craft without the time and expense of searching for and recovering them by hand and without damaging the farmers' crops. Tucker said his potential portion of the project is the vehicle to carry the payload, not the actual recovery systems.

"Many things serve as inspiration for my designs," Tucker said. "But I have to say the number one source of inspiration is my family and all the amazing people in the FPV Drone community. There's truly nothing more inspirational than making my family proud, and my customers happy."

Tucker's family has been supportive of him and his aspirations in so many ways, he said. His grandmother helped him with startup expenses and his father provided needed advice and assistance.

"My older brother David has helped me with marketing my products and services and getting my company's name out there," Tucker said. "My mom has been supportive and highly patient with me when I don't sleep for days on end to get work done. To be honest I would have given up on myself long ago without all their encouragement and support."

Tucker is currently working on a secret project named "Phoenix" that includes some innovative features that could potentially have an impact on the premium freestyle frame market. He completed two freelance design projects for a young serial entrepreneur. The first was a freestyle frame named the Intercept, which is soon to be released at

Courtesy photo

A close-up picture is of the Hornet FS 277 drone frame designed by Sam Tucker of Anza.

The second project was the housing that covers and waterproofs the battery and electronics on an all-terrain electric skateboard that goes over 30 mph and gets well over 20 miles on a single charge. This item is available at

Tucker designed a 3-inch drone racing frame named the Volk 3-inch for OAS Hobby, that can be seen at

He's also entering the prototyping phase of a quad frame for a major retailer on the East Coast.

To learn more, visit

Information on the Hornet may be viewed at

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at [email protected]


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