Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ERAU sUAS Challenge II-Wings Over Houston

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is holding a second sUAS Challenge, this time at the Wings Over Houston air show (November 1-2) at Ellington Field, Houston, TX. If you are a R/C quad/multirotor pilot that would like to compete or if you have an interest in this growing field, come on out!
Two major issues surrounding the use of sUAS in national airspace system (NAS) are safety and liability.  To mitigate these concerns (i.e., Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations governing the use of UAS are in the development phase), an outdoor facility enclosed with safety netting will be used.  The netted arena will be considered a “structure” by the FAA and all sUAS flights will be limited to, and strictly controlled inside this area.  Additionally, participants are required to sign an acknowledgement of liability.  The race course will be challenging so damage to a participant’s sUAS is possible.
The Challenge is open to any private, academic or commercial participant (one vehicle per entity) with a maximum field of 20 entries or to be determined by the event staff. The sUAS must be able to take off and land vertically (VTOL); be less than approximately 36 inches in major axis and less than 18 inches in elevation; and weigh less than 10 pounds.  The sUAS will be required to use an electric propulsion, actuation, and power system controlled by remote transmission adhering to FCC regulations in the unlicensed bands (other bands may be used as long as the operator holds at least a Technician Class Amateur Radio license and produce documentation that they are approved to transmit in a given band and power level). To manage control reliability, a spectrum analyzer will be employed to ensure deconfliction.
The Challenge will be composed of three separate events that will result in both overall and individual event champions.  The events will be (subject to change):
​- Obstacle Course (emphasizing agility and maneuverability, time measured)
​- Dead Lift (lifting ability, weight measured both maximum and specific weight)
​- Time Trial (speed over a closed course, time measured)
Initial inspection of each sUAS will occur prior to the competition each morning to ensure compliance with size and modification rules.  A full list of rules will be available upon request.  The Challenge will take place over two days beginning with a mandatory operators meeting at 9:00 a.m. followed by the competition.  The course will be open for practice on Friday prior to the competition. There is no charge for entry in the ERAU sUAS Challenge. This event is being organized by David Thirtyacre, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics (thirtyad@erau.edu).

I will also be in attendance to talk about our UAS related educational programs and give folks an opportunity to fly simulated aeromodels using Real Flight 7 (recently donated by the great folks over at Hobbico/Great Planes) and a couple actual micro quadcopters. To read more about this event, which first ran at the Reno Air Races visit: