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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  • T3

    Doh! Looks like Tom has me beat then. Bummer but that's great!

    I'll take a look at the tablet/phone holder again. The only reason I haven't purchased one of those is that I keep my transmitter in a Futaba or Pelican case depending on what I'm taking out and something that doesn't just clip on and off quickly won't work as well and that alone increases setup and takedown times quite a bit. I'll keep hunting around.

  • Admin

    Hi All,

    When I got home I hooked the rover 3DR telemetry radio directly to my PC and read the radio programming which was not right at all.

    I had bought two new 3DR telemetry radios a couple of months ago and did not bother to check their programming. As a result one of the radios was ok, but the one I put in the rover was not programmed with the defaults.

    After correcting the radio programming I did a range check and still had a 80% signal at 80m with the receiver in the garage so there was no line of sight connection to the rover, which was out on the street, as there is on the T3 course.

    So it will be back to the T3 course in the morning if it does not rain. The parking lot course has been dry for the last two day, but you never can tell.


    Tom C AVD

  • Thanks Gary, I really appreciate the extension. If I don't manage to post a time before morning I'll throw in the towel.
  • Moderator

    I feel August the 1st coming along tomorrow unless anyone needs just a couple more days please PM me if you do. @Healthyfatboy, HK has a tablet holder

  • T3
    I actually stood near the middle and held my BTB up when it would get far away so I could keep and eye on it. I actually ended up standing near the pole I hit as I knew I was really close to hitting there often so I was >100m many times but had marginal signal, around 20 or so. This is an original Kickstarter BTB with the firmware on the radio running 1.9 and a newer 3DR radio on the truck.
  • Good morning Tom, afternoon for you I guess.
    I've been using the same setup, with the new radio in rover and old in gcs. And noticed the same thing. Considered standing in the middle of the field with my laptop.
    Is there a way to get the info we need from the data flash logs? It's all there, can we view it in the same format as a telem. log within MP?
    My thought was to use a kml, but almost the entire run was below the surface and therefore not visible.
    I'm installing an old APM 2.6 in the rover right now, hoping for better results. Figured I'd leave the pixhawk in there too, for comparison.
    Really need to hurry now.

  • Admin


    I was able to get in 5 T3 runs today at a final speed of 12m/s like healthfatboy.

    The only problem is my telemetry signal is going away after about 100 ft so I only get telemetry for the start and near the end of the T3 run.

    During my Sparkfun AVC testing here in Florida the rover was never more than 150 ft away so I never knew that I would have an issue at a range of 300 ft.

    My base station is an original 3DR 915MHz telemetry radio with firmware version 1.9 while the rover has the newer 3DR telemetry radio.

    I am going to try a range test using the new 3DR telemetry radio as the base station to see if that will help the telemetry range. Otherwise I will have to get an Event 38 RFD 900 radio for the base station to help increase the range.


    Tom C AVD

  • I've been having issues all summer where the rover will track perfectly on one mission, then completely s#!t the bed on the next run. Had been considering swapping back to the APM before T3, but given the time constraints decided to wait it out.

    There are many mounting options out there
  • T3
    Yeah, that's odd. I had a similar thing happen on my APM 2.5 clone.

    Does anyone know if the phone/tablet holder from the Solo can be purchased? That would make life so much easier if I could rig it on the Taranis somehow.
  • Followed the same process with my pixhawk equipped copter to retrieve the logs, and all is well there. Dare I say there could be a problem with the rover's pixhawk?
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