"Team Telemaster" Bests Engineering Students' Entries
Aaron Donaldson and Simeon O'Neill entered and won the
Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation 2008 UAV
Outback Rescue Challenge in Queensland, Australia last month with a
Hobby-Lobby Senior Telemaster kit purchased over 30 years ago by
Converted from gas- to electric-power, Team Telemaster's plane
featured a fully articulating belly-mounted camera. Their
ground-based control displayed airspeed, altimeter, artificial
horizon, the plane's GPS coordinates, and included an autopilot
system and a video screen.
The two other entrants, both university-sponsored teams spending
four times as much on their projects as Team Telemaster, crashed
their planes. "Everyone [else] was aerospace engineers," Donaldson
said. "Simeon and I didn't finish more than a semester of
The 2008 UAV Challenge, a direct outcome of "The Future of UAVs
-- Challenges and Applications in the Asia Pacific Region" workshop
ARCAA conducted in 2005, was held from September 23 to 25, 2008 at
Kingaroy airport in Queensland, Australia. Kingaroy is the site for
a new UAV test and training center being used by Boeing Australia
The goal of the Outback Rescue competition was to rescue
"Outback Joe," who is lost in the Australian outback and
desperately in need of assistance. "A total time of one hour is
allowed for the mission. This includes all time for set up, launch,
mission, landing and recovery," ARCAA rules stated.
"Your system must be capable of searching an area of at least
2nm x 2nm, up to 5nm from the aerodrome. The target for your search
will be a human (or dummy) wearing light khaki clothes and an
Akubra hat. The target will not be moving and will be positioned in
a typical resting pose in a rural setting.
"The GPS coordinates representing
the four corners of the search area will be provided in the days
leading up to the competition. The air vehicle must not travel
outside of the search area or transit lane, for its flight will be
terminated if it does so. The search area will be not more that 5nm
from the aerodrome.
"Over a 60 minute period, teams must deploy their air vehicle
systems and conduct the search. Once the search has been conducted
a decision must be made as to where Outback Joe is located. A GPS
coordinate, representing Outback Joe's location, must be provided
to the judges.
"Once Joe has been located with the judges' approval, the air
vehicle must be tasked with delivering its emergency package. The
emergency package will contain 500ml of 'life saving' water. The
package must be dropped as closely as possible to Outback Joe,
without landing on him. The UAV will then return to the Kingaroy
airport for recovery."
Though they failed to complete the challenge after a loose
wiring plug forced them to land, Team Telemaster still
walked off with top honors and a $5,000 AU prize.
"The entire team at Hobby-Lobby is thrilled to see our classic
Telemaster take on the big guys and win," said Hobby-Lobby
President Jay Graves. "The Telemaster has been a consistently great
plane for R/C pilots looking for easy flying characteristics
combined with a simple assembly process."
Hobby-Lobby International is a 43-year-old, Tennessee-based
company manufacturing R/C airplanes, helicopters and boats. The
high-wing Telemaster comes in a variety of sizes from micro to a
version with a 12-foot wingspan. Assembly options include kits,
which are built piece by piece, or "Almost Ready to Fly" (ARF)
planes that only require the addition of an engine and