As a team, we have often said, “When you can’t come to the course, make the course come to you.” Actually, we have never said that, but still it holds true. We are happy to say that our vehicle is developed to the point that the only way to move forward is to run an end-to-end trial simulating the IARC. To do this, we have to build a course that is similar to the one we will be exploring at competition. These kinds of operations take space, and we are happy to say that TGlobal has welcomed us into their warehouse and given us space to build anything our hearts desire. Yesterday afternoon we met with Tommy Kenville, the owner of the space, and he gave us the majority of his warehouse to build in. We have taken full advantage of his offer, and spent most of yesterday erecting a test course.

And it only took 11 hours!

Yes, it’s true, we are a bit ashamed of how long it took to build the course, but we had a few mishaps, these things happen. Take it from us that you don’t want to build anything out of PVC pipe, no matter how convenient the joint connectors are. It is NOT structural, it WILL bend, and the whole thing will be a mess. After way too many hours fiddling with PVC, we wised up, got some wood, and built a real structure. We have tactfully created “walls” by papering the space in between beams, and this ensures that if our vehicle for some reason goes crazy, it can do so without destroying itself on a solid wall. Instead, it will break through the paper. Of course, we’ll still be killing it mid-air, so there’s the possibility that it’ll get damaged in a fall, but the break-away frame does pretty well to mitigate damage in these scenarios.

With everything in place we were able to begin testing our system and ensure that things that used to work still work, and we have begun polishing things that are less functional into their final form.

We’ve taken a few exciting videos, and are currently uploading those to Youtube. As soon as those things get through we will link them here.

This morning was also rather eventful, as it was the day of the symposium aspect of the competition. Each team delivered a presentation about their system and their approach to the mission. We were proudly represented by José Gomez, who spoke his little heart out about our vehicle for about 20 minutes. This presentation was filmed and is also being added to Youtube for anyone who is interested.

The presentation is about more than just making teams look good though. It also plays a role in the “static judging” aspect of things. Static judging is based on the teams’ submitted technical papers, as well as their presentations. The team that earns the highest static judging score wins an extra attempt at the course (bringing the total attempt count from the standard 4 to the hard-earned 5). We will hear how we did later, and by tomorrow the judges will announce who wins the extra attempt.

Expect a lot from us today, we hope to share a few videos and a lot of cool pictures. And don’t forget, tomorrow is the big day! Competition flights will begin at 11 am EST.