UAV Outback Challenge inspires Chelsea to be an aerospace engineer

Outback Joe kicks back.

When Helensvale State High School student Chelsea Redman visited a QUT Open Day at Kelvin Grove last year, she was captivated by a display about the UAV Outback Challenge – one of the most difficult unmanned aircraft competitions in the world.

So much so that it was there and then she decided she wanted to an aerospace engineer.

Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business Jan Jarratt said Chelsea was now a first year aerospace engineering student at QUT.

“The UAV Challenge is a joint initiative between the Queensland Government, the CSIRO-QUT Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems and Aviation Development Australia Limited,” she said.

“The challenge was conceived to promote the development of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technologies and their civil applications and to inspire the next generation of our aviation workforce.”

MP for Broadwater Peta-Kay Croft congratulated Chelsea for piloting a great course and an exciting career, with her story sure to inspire other young women into the field.

“UAS are aircraft without an onboard pilot that can either be remotely-controlled or flown autonomously,” Ms Croft said.

“The UAV Challenge consists of two categories – one for high school students, called the UAV Airborne Delivery Challenge – Outback Rescue competition and one for tertiary institutions and enthusiasts called the UAV Search and Rescue Challenge.

“The UAV Airborne Delivery Challenge is on from 27-28 September at Calvert, 25 kilometres west of Ipswich, with 11 high school teams from Queensland, the ACT and South Australia competing for $14,000 in prize money.”

Ms Croft said the Search and Rescue Challenge was biennial and moves to Kingaroy next year.

“The $50,000 Search and Rescue Challenge has attracted 175 domestic and international teams since its inception in 2007, but no one has managed to claim the top prize yet in what was a very difficult competition.”

Nineteen-year-old Chelsea said the challenge piqued her curiosity.

“I am planning to be part of the Challenge when I’m in my final year of engineering,” said Chelsea.

Chelsea, who studied engineering as an extracurricular subject at high school, received a Dean’s Award for High Achievement last year to study at QUT.

Her enthusiasm and her high achievement caught the attention of Boeing Research and Technology Australia and she’s being mentored by one of Boeing’s senior researchers, Associate Technical Fellow and Advanced UAS Application Lead Brendan Williams.

Chelsea said she was excited to be part of this year’s Airborne Delivery Challenge as an official.

“It’s hard to imagine that within a year of first coming across the Challenge, I’m now part of this exciting competition,” she said.

This year’s UAV Airborne Delivery Challenge will be held at Calvert Radio Modellers Society flying field, Bourkes Road West, Calvert, and is open to the general public. Admission is free.