By Natalie Blair
SALINA, Kan. — Three donations have equipped Kansas State University Salina’s UAS Club to compete at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Student Unmanned Air Systems Competition.
The competition, held at Patuxent River NAS, Md., June 13-17, will feature teams from 33 schools around the country who will each fly a mock mission. In the scenario, the team will support a team of Navy SEALS by providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data gathered with an unmanned aircraft system.
The K-State Salina team will fly the Willie VTOL in Maryland. The vertical take off and landing vehicle is a remote control helicopter that has been modified with avionics systems that provide the team the capabilities they will need for the competition.
Latitude Engineering donated an above ground level sensor. The Latitude AGL Sensor is a laser altimeter that will provide smooth, precise landings even if the surface isn’t flat. The Latitude AGL sensor is valued at $4,500. K-State will provide Latitude Engineering, based in Tucson, Ariz., with flight data gathered from the sensor.
Industrial Vision Source Imaging donated a Sony block camera XIIIA, valued at $500. The camera will provide the live video feed necessary to gather the data required during the competition. Industrial Vision Source Imaging is based in Coppell, Texas.
A third donor, wishing to remain anonymous, donated a camera gimbal system, worth $5,000. The gimbal system stabilizes the camera during flight so that images don’t blur from movement.
The donations are the results of the efforts of Mark Wilson, senior in unmanned aircraft systems, Wamego, and the UAS Club president, who reached out to the companies explaining the club’s mission and goals.
“It’s great to have support from companies like Latitude Engineering and IVS,” Wilson said. “We would have to have a lot of fundraisers to be able to get the avionics systems we need. With their donations we can focus totally on learning the system and competing instead of having to worry about the next way to raise money.”