3D Robotics

Restarting the T3 Contest: Now with copters!


Two and half years ago, we started the T3 (Trust Time Trial) Contest here at DIY Drones. The idea was simple: give people a mission to accomplish, on their own field and on their own time. They would record the telemetry, and submit a KML file with the result (we "trust" that it hasn't been faked). We could then compare the result and decide who was the winner (fastest time, best pattern, etc), as if they had all been racing/competing head-to-head. 


Back then, it was an accomplishment just to complete an autonomous mission with a regular plane. But we've made a lot of progress since then, and that's now possible with a multicopter or traditional helicopter, too. So it's time to relaunch the T3 Competition. And we're going to do it by returning to the first mission ever: the Figure Eight, but this time expanded to include copters.


Figure Eight Mission Rules:

  1. There are two categories: Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing (multicopters or traditional helis). 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards will be given in both.
  2. Must complete the pattern as shown above, totally autonomously (go into auto mode before waypoint 1 and exit after you hit waypoint 1 again). The four points are arranged in a square, with 200m on a side for fixed wing aircraft and 100m on a side for rotary wing aircraft (obviously the two diagonal paths are longer). Any aircraft/autopilot allowed. It doesn't matter how close to the waypoints you get, as long as you pass on the outside of them.
  3. Altitude is not graded.
  4. Fastest time in each category to hit all points and return to 1 wins (one lap). 
  5. The Judge will be Gary Mortimer, as always!
  6. Deadline is Sunday, Dec 11th, at midnight PST.
  7. 1st Prize in each category is a $100 gift certificate to the DIY Drones store. 2nd and 3rd prizes are $25 each.

Entries should include these three things:

  1. Total time, along with aircraft (and type: fixed or rotary wing) and autopilot used. A photo of the aircraft would be nice, too.
  2. KML file of the run (an onboard video is also encouraged, but not required)
  3. Screen capture of path exported to Google Earth or an equivalent, annotated with waypoints and where autonomy began and ended. Here's a sample from my first entry, way back then (original ArduPilot!):3689432129?profile=original
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  • Moderator

    Don't forget gang tomorrow is the cut off day. As ever these deadlines are elastic but within reason. So let me know now via PM if you are going to try and the WX is an issue and then I may just put the clock back on my confuser.

  • T3

    @brakar "usually calm weather. "

    Now that was good I cannot find a day with less than 7m/s wind since 2 weeks in Poland.

    Circle times are rather close to two than one minute.

    Weather is a big factor for any closed loop time competition!

    Flying lenght L with airspeed A and windspeed W, there and back, takes: L/(A+W)+L/(A-W) time, which is larger than L/A for W<A.

  • Lol, it sounds funny!!! Maybe I´ll be able to participate next time...

    Cheers from Spain!


  • Here's my first attempt (also my first T3 entry).  My plane wasn't going full throttle, so if I get another chance, I'll enable racing mode.  :)

    I was flying an old UDB3 prototype in a Multiplex ParkMaster.

    I measure this as an 84 second run, so not a contender currently, but very fun to set up and fly!


    Here's the KMZ file.

    And here's the UDB LOGO program I used:


       // Point South
       SET_POS(130, 85)





  • Thanks, Ric. Yes, seems we're all living on the 'cutting edge' ;-)

    But you better look out, man. A bigger motor just arrived in the mail yesterday. You might still be safe, though. They forgot to include the propeller!  

    Best regards,


  • Hi Phil,

    great entry !

    Seems I still can't relax, I'm wondering to cut the wings of my Acromaster too ;P

    Best regards,


  • Hi Pete,

    Oops, sorry about that. I just made the photos public. Hopefully you can access them now.

    BTW, thanks for the excellent Flight Analyzer tool that produced the google earth .kmz files shown above.

    Best regards,


  • Developer

    @Hi Phil, lovely flight, beautifully set up.

    I'm not able to access the "pictures of the plane" or "waypoints file". I'm being denied access by Google at the moment. Are they "published to the web" ? I can access the KMZ file.

    Best wishes, Pete

  • Hi all,

    Here is my first T3 entry. This was the flight of a modified Dynam HawkSky piloted by the UDB4.


    Total time was 47 seconds on the first lap.

    Here is an image showing all 7 laps flown that morning and demonstrating the UDB's excellent control.


    The .kmz file is posted here

    The waypoints file is posted here

    Here is a photo and description of the plane

    3692314110?profile=originalModified Dynam HawkSky

    Electronics: UAV Dev Board v4 running MatrixPilot 3.2.1, EM406 GPS, Spektrum DX7 TX,  AR7010 RX, upgraded motor and ESC (Grayson Hobby MicroJet V3 & 20A ESC).

    Physical changes: 6 1/2 inches trimmed from wings, propeller (APC 6x4), enlarged tail surfaces, carbon fiber rods in tail boom and tail surfaces, reinforced fuselage, clear plastic canopy, RC Powers motor mount.

    Here are some more pictures of the plane

    Special thanks to the UAV Dev Board team for making all of this possible. Thank you Bill, Pete, Ben, and you too, Ric, for helping me at all points along the way! As mentioned above, it's an honor and pleasure to be involved with such wonderful people.

  • I tried my Skwalker on the T3 route this weekend. Really seemed like progress as, for the first time, I just pulled the stuff out of the car, plugged it in, and everything simply worked. It felt great!

    The route starts at WP2 and ends at WP6. Playing back through the mission planner it was 1:35. 

    Plane is a Skywalker controlled by APM with S/W load 2.26. I made two mods to transfer motor current and GPS time (UTC, not local) so that I could include them in the symbology. I was using the mission planner to control the flight, and had my Ardustation derived ground station driving the Remzibi symbology and the antenna tracker.

    I had a fair headwind on the first and third legs (heading for WP3 and WP5 - you can see the groundspeed variation on the video.

    The image below shows that I didn't quite reach some of the WP, but the route was safely larger than the 200m required. The outline of the square as measured in the mission planner is:

    WP2-WP3: 231m

    WP3-WP5: 223m

    WP4-WP5: 248m

    WP4-WP6: 214m


    KML file and log file are here

    Youtube video is here.

    I look forward to the next T3!


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