After arriving in Kingaroy, the first challenge for the team was to pass the scrutineering phase. This was to prove to the judges that our aircraft was airworthy and that our autopilot system was safe and reliable. Being the first team to pass the scrutineering phase, we were confident in our system and our chances the next day.
Our aircraft was the first to be deemed safe
Avionics and Flight Operations preparing for the mission
As our team would be the third to fly, we arrived at Kingaroy airfield early the next morning ready to leave for the launch area with the other teams. After a nervous wait for the other teams to compete, it was finally our turn.
The team swung into action. The flight operations team set up the autopilot ground station and completed the pre flight checks on the aircraft. The avionics team set up the satellite dish for data transmission as well as their image recognition software.
The images were sent back to the ground station and processed
The aircraft returned to the launch site to transfer the images
After two aborted take offs, the plane finally took to the skies and soared off to the search zone. Now we had to wait. After completing half the search pattern, the aircraft returned to transfer the images obtained thus far. Upon viewing the images, the team was concerned to see them out of focus. As a result, we had to resort to manual image recognition. The team gathered around the computer screen, trying to identify Outback Joe in the blurry images but to no avail. Our three guesses at Joe’s GPS coordinates proved to be futile.
The “Aeolus” landed safely and our competition was complete. Despite not finding Outback Joe, Monash UAS was the first team in the competition’s history to successfully complete a flight mission and we eventually placed 13th behind the eventual winners, Canberra UAV.