'Community feel' helps more teams than ever fly at UAS Challenge

'Community feel' helps more teams than ever fly at UAS Challenge

The excited chatter stopped as the whir of rotors filled the air. All attention was on the white fixed-wing drone as it started to gather speed on the grass. Then, suddenly, it swung upwards into the blustery air.

The crowd clapped and cheered, celebrating a successful flight for the King Fahd University team just before the 3pm cut-off, after technical issues had prevented multiple attempts throughout the day. The flight didn’t last long – about eight seconds – but that didn’t matter. It was a victory for the supportive and collaborative atmosphere at the 2023 UAS Challenge, and yet another successful flight at the June event. 

More teams managed to fly than ever before at this year’s edition of the IMechE event, thanks in part to an increased focus on reliability and airworthiness from the organisers. An end to Covid disruption and maturing knowledge amongst the 19 participating teams – which included students from any stage of their degree for the first time, rather than just master’s students – also helped. 

“It’s really positive,” said event chair Paul Lloyd. “We've had the best ever turnout that we've had in the nine years we've been going, and importantly this time around the teams are pretty ready from the get go… We even got some competition flying done in the first afternoon, which has never happened before.”  


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