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Our testing drone for experimental features that can withstand even our greatest enemy: trees.

First built in Fall 2019 as the team’s primary testing platform, Sparky was originally constructed from an out-of-the-box carbon fiber frame and salvaged parts from previous projects. The night before her maiden flight, as the battery was being connected for the final test, one of our hardware engineers learned that carbon fiber is conductive and thus the platform was dubbed “Sparky.” After hundreds of miles of previously untested software, dozens of takeoffs and landings, and at least ten unexpected encounters with plant life, Sparky now looks very different from the original build. Testing platforms like this are perhaps the most important steppingstone for one of our builds – the agile nature allows for quick swaps between configurations, easy replacements, and high durability as a system learns how to fly. Sparky has been the cornerstone of our attempts for IARC Mission 9, SUAS 22, and various other projects our team has taken on since construction. The platform’s history and intense usage has made it a favorite among many of our members.

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