(above: crashes and near crashes at the competition)
From the press reports: TOOWOOMBA man Simeon O'Neill and his best mate used their patched-up 30-year-old model plane to beat teams of university aerospace engineers at the UAV Challenge in Kingaroy. Mr O'Neill and his high school buddy Aaron Donaldson, from Geelong, won the main event, the Search and Rescue open category, taking home $5000.
The Unmanned Airborne Vehicles (UAVs) Outback Challenge was held at the Kingaroy Airport and finished yesterday.
The pair heard about the competition last year and decided to rebuild Mr Donaldson's dad's 1978 model plane that was gathering dust in the shed. With a budget of about $6000, they were impressed with their winning efforts.
"Everyone was aerospace engineers, Simeon and I didn't finish more than a semester of engineering," Mr Donaldson said. "QUT had a budget of about $30,000 and the United States university had a budget of about $25,000. And both university teams crashed their planes."
The pair could have won the $50,000 prize. But they failed to complete the challenge after a wiring plug came loose and forced them to land. They will use the prize money to prepare another plane. "We're ready for next year now," Mr O'Neill said.