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!


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  • Developer

    Looking forward to seeing the video for some of the vehicles!

  • I feel like a kid again, searching for a parking lot to skateboard in.
    I've found a few spots on the map that look suitable in my area. Just need to figure out how to get the cars to leave.
  • I've been wanting to build a go kart rover for a while, but logistics have kept me from doing it.  So, I went with a 1/5th scale instead.  I'm having difficulty finding a big enough lot to try the challenge in.

  • 3D Robotics

    Golf cart?! I'm trying to win this thing! But here's a hint: you were half right, just spelled with a "k"

  • Developer

    Hmmmm Chris - I don't seem to be able to see those servo's on the 3DR Store ;-)  What are you Rovering - a golf cart?

  • So I'm trying to figure out how on earth Chris got 348 with a Solo... and looking at his Waypoint file I realize I'm an idiot!  I flew 6 passes!  Gah!  I stupidly set Do Jump to 5 times!  So, I can probably take 30 seconds off that time.  320ish.

  • 3702044223?profile=original

    OK, got it down to 350 seconds.  35 m/s Waypoint Speed, 700 m/s/s acceleration rate 6 m/s climb rate.  And I'm really cutting the corners.  I set a takeoff height of 2m before heading off, but that's a little low... I think the baro gets confused....  It pitched forward immediately and cut the grass with the front of the blade disk.  I got lucky!

    Now it's time to turn up the wick.  I've been running the slowest pinion they make.  Time to change that.  I'll be shooting for 40 m/s, 1000 m/s/s and 10 m/s.  I'm just not sure if the attitude controller can hold it together.  It's on the limit for controlling the pitch at speed.  The extra rotor speed might actually help that though, we'll see.  Otherwise I'll have to hold back the top speed and do it all with acceleration and climb rate. 

  • Now that's truly a beast!
  • 3D Robotics

    Okay, now I'm worried. But lest you rover folks get too confident, behold the servo I'm using for the steering in my "rover" (the word doesn't do this beast justice). Hint: I don't have a tiny hand:


  • Developer

    whoa whoa whoa - weaker?  Them's fightn' words.  Hmmm, maybe I can fit that gas turbine to my rover . . .

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