After some flights and driving, Rijesh, Sebastian, Andrew, Cindy, Brian, Jackie and I have all arrived safely to Lexington Park, Maryland for the 2017 AUVSI UAS Competition. It was a perilous journey, but through it all we persevered and made it to our destination in the land of the free. We embarked on our journey in the dead of the night, having arrived for our flight around 3:00am. Although our members were separated during the flights, had to sit separated and heartbroken, we stayed strong and kept the team spirit burning. After the flights, we then continued our way via car. We rented out two cars for the team and this is where we met the most near-mishaps. During the first long car ride, we nearly lost half the team as Andrew took a wrong turn and nearly got lost on the to the Hotel in Fairfax, Virginia. On the second car trip to Lexington Park, Maryland this almost happened again, but this time it was Rijesh who had taken the wrong turn. But somehow, we made it through all of that and the whole team made it to our hotel in Lexington Park, safe and accounted for.
We mini-sized our crate for this year compared to last and made it out of the oversized baggage category. Its taken on a new diet plan and slimmed down; we cut packing peanuts out of its diet and replaced them with bubble wrap instead. As you can see, it was a very effective diet plan and we would recommend it to all those other crates looking to slim down.
From the competition briefing today, we found out that the competition this year has 44 teams! This is significantly more than the 24 teams that were present last year; a truly daunting challenge indeed. We also received the feedback for our journal paper and our Flight Readiness Review Video, and it was quite good. This has only made our team even more pumped up and raring for the competition.
Compared to last year, where we were given our flight order; this year, we got to choose our order to fly. From the moment we found out about this, our co-presidents, Sebastian and Rijesh, instantly went into extremely intense deliberation. Having considered various factors, ranging from team readiness, flight preparation, future weather conditions, and team distribution by day, they had decided on us being the 33rd team to fly. With this wise and calculated decision, our co-presidents have brought to us an amazing flight time slot, bringing an end to the briefing.
Tomorrow, we’ll be doing our safety inspection for the plane and making some more preparations for the flight, with a light chance of flying. Then on Friday, we’ll be sending our own little Jownsey (That’s the name of the plane) into the air for the competition flight. This blog will be updated and filled with our completion adventures during the next few days so make sure to stay tuned!