It has been our biggest week in two years. We travelled to Dalby for the UAV Challenge Medical Express, one of only ten teams from around the world to do so. To make it that far was an exceptional achievement but we knew we could go further.
At scrutineering, the judges asked us to change our wiring system. We managed to make the necessary changes and passed the scrutineering section comfortably, along with the team interview where we were able to discuss our technical proficiency. The interview highlighted the structure of the team such as our Li-Po management plan, Risk Assessments and Safe Work Instructions for aircraft operations. Our engagement activities provided a useful point of difference from the other teams.
Our flight time was brought forward by a day and the team responded amazingly. Tasks were taken on readily and completed promptly. When it was our turn at the flight line, we ran into some software issues that had to be resolved. Our flight line team worked really well under pressure and were able to get two aircraft flying simultaneously, the first team to do so.
At this point, one aircraft was behaving particularly erratically and the judges requested that we land it. Our pilot did a great job to land the bucking aircraft but it was still a heavy landing and the landing gear suffered damage. We did not have enough time to complete repairs and diagnose and fix the flight behavior. Thus ended our competition attempt.
A team from Canberra took out first place in the end. That team is composed of ex university lecturers, professional engineers as well as the author of the open source code for the autopilot most teams use. It's a great achievement to compete with such people. We placed sixth out of the sixty teams that entered and were the highest ranked Australian university.
It was a great experience as we got to meet other teams, professional aerospace engineers, representatives from the competition sponsors including Boeing, CASA, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. We formed lots of relationships that we can draw on for the future and many opportunities for collaboration.