T3 Back to the Future


Remember back, way back in autopilot years probably about 20. The year 2009 and the first round of our gentlemens (ladies are allowed just none have ever entered) competition the T3 challenge.

Back then just flying way points was hard and all this gear was expensive. Ardupilots were made at Sparkfun in batches that ran out quick.


Lets try it again I suspect this time the challenge would really be flying it faster than somebody FPV racing.

Read about the first time here for hints and tips. 

As tech has moved on all aircraft types welcome lets make it not above 50m and 5 laps. All of course autonomous. Extra marks if that is from take off to landing.I will count the time from take off to landing so screaming dives to the start will not help. KMLs as evidence please!

UPDATE: Rovers (and boats) are also allowed! There will be a special rover/boat class, and you only have to beat other vehicles in that class. The course for such ground/water vehicles is 100m x 100m. 

I will accept FPV times for the sake of science and should they be much much quicker it will give the pure FPV crowd something to brag about.

An Easystar (yes before HK copied it) made one lap in less than a minute in 2009 so 5 in 5 minutes should be more than possible. 

As ever the time frame is flexible but why don't we all meet back here on August the 1st and find out who won!

Please add your entries and adventures below. Points are always awarded for silliness, just as long as its safe!


E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Shouldn't say that so soon Chris.
  • 3D Robotics

    That's way fast regardless. I think I'm going to have to go the rover route, where the competition is weaker ;-)

  • Meh, nevermind.  Spline nav cheats and cuts the corners way too much.  371 using real waypoints.  But she's got more in her.

  • Just did my first attempt with my little red helicopter.  285ish seconds.  Still have to tweak it.  You've been served notice... :D

  • Hmmm... anyone know of 100m x 100m of pavement in Colorado? I'll spend some time in Google Maps. 

  • Now you're allowing rovers?  I need to get busy!!

  • Admin

    Hi Grant/Chris,

    I am in total agreement with Grant in that it can be tough to come up with a 200m X 200m patch of flat ground without any obstructions.

    I actually have found a 200m X 200m flat patch of ground, but they would have to shutdown the local R/C flying field while we run the rovers and there is no guarantee that they will do so.

    Therefore I propose to accept Grant's recommendation of a 100m X 100m course for the rovers. However, maybe there can be both a  200m X 200m and a 100m X 100m course for the rovers.

    Grant, I never thought about running a boat in the T3 as there are local mini-lakes that are much bigger than 200m X 200m. However the weather here has not been real conducive to getting my Vbox hull trimmed unfortunately.


    Tom C AVD

  • The 100 x 100 reduction keeps me inside the fence.
    Thanks Chris.
  • 3D Robotics

    Appeal heard and granted. 100m x 100m it is for rovers! Post adjusted accordingly. 

    As for stopping, I get that it's a bit of a fuzzy thing with boats. I'll accept slowing to a walking pace. 


  • Developer

    That's awesome Chris - thanks!  I'm sure the Rover group (best people in the world) will be thrilled once they hear about this!

    I have the same issue as Tom and I'm going to struggle to find a large ground area 200m x 200m.  I did a bunch of google map searching last night in my geographically area and nothing popped up.  We might need to think about tweaking it to 100m x 100m for the Rover challenge?  That would be achievable.

    However, I was actually thinking of entering with a boat which goes much faster then my Rovers and to be honest beating the aircraft.  All that takeoff, landing messing around is going to slow you down.  My reading is the timing is from standing start to fully stopped finish?

    And Tom - I think your boat goes faster then mine!

    Thanks, Grant.

This reply was deleted.