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Canadian Competition, Day 3

With a pretty good night of sleep behind us, we trekked out to the pits. We were pretty burnt out the night before, but we had discovered a couple of problems: our wireless router was not turning on inside our hastily-reconstructed avionics box, and we had lost the SD card for the Pandaboard, taking all of our files with it.

We took a look at the wireless router in the morning, and soon found out that some of the voltage regulators we installed on the outside of the avionics box were burning hot. We soon found that our router was shorting up against our metal box, explaining our issues. We also had a fun scavenger hunt for the Pandaboard SD card, but this turned up nothing.

Our first flight time came up a bit sooner than we expected. We had some trouble installing our avionics box inside the plane and so carved away a good 10 minutes of our 45-minute flight time. Once we were there, the first priority was to get an R/C flight in, since the system hadn’t left the ground since the crash.

Unfortunately, we missed the same requirement this time that we did yesterday during our first Flight Readiness go-around: the throttle would not turn off if we lost the R/C link. As our flight time rolled on, we began to have more inexplicable issues: we had a weak R/C link, our telemetry link died, etc. Our time passed, and the plane hadn’t left the ground.

We were lucky enough to have Julien from VAMUdeS, who were running a TWOG and PPM encoder system set up for their autopilot (just like us) help us out with the last failsafe condition; once we had that and tested it, our plane was ready to go. We were ready, but the weather wasn’t: it started snowing outside, delaying our second flight to tomorrow.

There was plenty of stuff to work on once we got back: going out and buying parts, restoring a backup of the Pandaboard’s card, replacing our voltage regulators, debugging the imaging software, etc. Mostly, though, it was a lot of sitting around and waiting. Here’s some pics of that:

Cindy Xiao

Arshad Husain

Andrew Jowsey

Mark Pollock

Rijesh Augustine

On the Team Murphy side, they were out bright and early this morning - even more so than expected because of a crash from UVictoria beforehand. Because of a configuration mix-up, they weren’t able to get any pictures from their flight today. However, that was a quick fix, and the rest of their system was working perfectly well - lots of time to kill. Several hours of tomfoolery later, they made this:

Flight path of Team Murphy’s plane and locations of images they took

This is data of the test flight they did yesterday. The yellow pins are the locations of the images taken during the flight, and the red path is the flight of the plane.

Overall, both teams are in really good spirits. Team Murphy has their system entirely functional, Team UAARG is finally ready to fly. In addition to this, we got to travel around a lot to the other teams’ pits to learn more about their systems and share our woes. Interestingly, there seems to be very heavy sponsorship of a lot of teams this year, with loads of donated commercial hardware and imaging software making its way into teams’ systems. No matter what the system, though, everyone had issues with the wind or their RF links or their failsafes - it ended up being only 4 of 11 teams that actually flew today.

Tonight’s our free evening for hanging out. We’re going to hang out, rest up, and get ready for the last day!

Team Murphy. Paul doesn’t know how to feel about this.