Skip to main content

ROAVcopter Mini - Elementary Rules: 2017-2018

1. The Quadcopter

1.1. The Quadcopter that is being utilized for this competition is the Parrot Mambo Fly. 

1.2. A smart phone is necessary in order to pilot the Mambo.

1.3. A tablet such as an IPad is also required to program autonomous flight using Tynker.

1.4. Drones can be ordered with an educational discount through the following website:

1.5. Additional propellers and battery charger may be purchased though Parrot or Amazon.

1.6. Other third party batteries may have slightly more capacity and are permitted in competitions provided the battery fits in the standard battery holder and is authorized for the parrot Mambo drone.

1.7. Only Parrot or other injection molded plastic propellers may be used. All other propellers, (e.g., carbon fiber) are strictly forbidden.

2. The Field

2.1. The field for the ROAV Quadcopter Challenge consists of two canopy tents fastened together to form a flying envelope 32' long X 16' wide X 12' high.
2.2 Netting is hung to isolate the quadcopters from participants and spectators, see figure 1.

 ROAVcopter field

Figure 1. ROAVcopter Field Design


3. Safety Practices

3.1  Power cannot be applied to the propellers unless quadcopter is in a netted area.

3.2. All team members and event personnel directly participating at the field will wear designated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Safety glasses are required to be worn by anyone flying or assisting in the flight of the quadcopter. 

3.3. If the skill challenge allows for a team member to be in the netted area while competing, the student will be required to wear a face shield with or without a helmet along with safety glasses (e.g. softball type face mask, or forestry safety headgear). 

3.4. Only one team member will power up and operate the quadcopter; this includes both the hand held controller, connected smartphone/tablet and quadcopter.

3.5. Power cannot be applied to the propellers until all non-essential personnel is out of the field and behind netting and the referee begins the countdown (“3, 2, 1, go”). This does not apply to specific skill challenges that permit a team member to be in the netted are during a match. 

Violating any of these safety practices will result in the disqualification of all teams under that coach. A second offense will result in all teams under that coach being disqualified for half of a season. A third offense will result in all teams under that coach being disqualified for an entire season. 

Skill Challenge Rules

The 2017-2018 ROAVcopter Mini Challenge will focus on three different precision challenges: Manual Flight, Autonomous Flight, and Computational Thinking Skill Challenge. 

Manual flight leverages the Mambo to maneuver around an obstacle course. Students will fly their Mambo drone through various obstacles as quickly as they can.

Autonomous Flight leverages the Mambo’s ability to be programmed. Teams will be required to program their quadcopter through the same course used for the manual flight. See details below.

4. Manual Flight

4.1. Field Configuration: Teams will navigate the obstacle course detailed below in figure 2.

4.2. Each team will set their quadcopter on the starting/finishing tile (2' X 2') at one end of the field, fly around a vertical rope at the other end of the field. After flying around the vertical rope, fly through the lower 5'-square PVC hoop and then back around the vertical rope. After flying around the vertical rope the second time, students must then fly though the upper 5'-square PVC hoop and land on the starting/finishing tile (2' X 2') (see figure 2).

4.3. The race will begin with a countdown (“3, 2, 1, go”) and end when the quadcopter comes to rest on the finish tile.

4.4. To be considered a good run, the quadcopter must be in contact with the starting/finishing tile when the word “go” is announced. In other words, quadcopters cannot take off till a referee announces ‘go.’

4.5. Challenge clock will stop when the quadcopter comes to rest and some portion is touching the start/finish tile.

4.6 Teams will have 1 - 3 attempts to achieve their best score based on the discretion of the competition manager.

4.7. Scoring for the Manual Flight Challenge Winning team will be based on the team that completes the course in the least amount of time. Teams will be ranked on their flight times, lowest flight time wins.

 detailed Drawing

Figure 2. Elements and Flight Path for Elementary Skill Challenges.


5. Autonomous Flight

5.1. Field Configuration: For this challenge, students are required to program their quadcopter to navigate through the same field elements used in the manual flight skill challenge (see figure 2).

5.2. The programming platform used in this competition is a tablet based drag-and-drop application called Tynker, which is freely available through the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. More information can be found at:

5.3 Various points will be assigned for flying through each field element along with precision final landing. See scoring below. 

5.4 Navigating through field elements can be done individually with multiple flights, collectively with a single flight, or any combination in between. 

5.5 If using a single flight, the quadcopter must successfully return to the start side of the tapped line to be considered successful. If the flight is not successful, no points will be awarded. 

5.6 If using multiple flights, the quadcopter must return to the start tile side of the tapped line. The team member within the field may pick up the quadcopter, and move it back to the start tile for an additional flight. If the quadcopter does not return to the start tile side of the tapped line, the challenge ends. Points earned for previous successful flights will be awarded. 

5.7 Only the final flight will be eligible for points earned though precision landing. Next, the final flight must end within the one minute allotted to be successful. If the final flight goes over time, no points are awarded for precision landing.  

5.8. Obstacles do not need to be navigated in any specific order as points are awarded based on successfully navigating individual obstacles. 

5.9. Each team will set their quadcopter on the starting tile (2' X 2') at one end of the field. At the ‘Go’ signal, participants will activate their program, and their drone will fly around various obstacles.

5.10. Batteries can be switched during the allotted time provided that the quadcopter lands on the start tile side of the tapped line.

5.11. Teams have one minute to earn as many points as possible.

5.12. Only flights that cross the tapped line and return are eligible to earn points. 

5.13. Teams will have 1 - 3 attempts to achieve their best score based on the discretion of the competition manager.

5.14. Scoring

5.14.1. All points must be earned within the time allotted, one minute. 

5.14.2.   Obstacle point value are as follows: Flying around the rope: 2 Flying through the lower hoop: 2 Flying through the upper hoop: 2 Landing on the 2’ X 2’ finish tile: 3 Landing on the 6’ X 6’ finish tile: 2 Landing on the start tile side of the taped line: 1

5.14.3. Teams with the most points wins. Ties will be decided based on which team finishes the challenge in the least amount of time.

5.15.4.   Scoring Example: A team opts to complete the tasks in one flight. They navigate around the rope, through the lower hoop, and through the upper hoop. On the return to the starting tile, they land on the 6' x 6' tile. Elapsed time: 36 seconds. Points earned: 8 A team opts to complete the task using two flights. The first flight, the team travels through the lower hoop, the upper hoop, and returns to the starting side of the tapped line. The student then moves the quadcopter to the starting tile, changes the drone battery, and the program. The second flight the student flies around the rope and lands on the 6' x 6' tile. Elapsed time: 52 seconds. Points earned: 8 The two teams in the examples above are tied based on points, however, the first team completed the tasks in 36 seconds will be placed ahead of the team that completed the tasks in 52 seconds.  


 7. Calculating Tournament Champion

7.1. At the end of each skill challenge teams will be ranked based on performance.

7.2. The team that performed the best during a skill challenge will receive a rank of 1. The second best performing team will receive a rank of 2. This process will continue through the field of teams.

7.3. After all skill challenges are completed, each team rankings will be added up for their overall score. Lowest overall score wins the tournament champion.

7.4. Calculating Ties

7.4.1. If two teams tie, they will share those two places. The following ranked team will receive the next available position. For example, if two teams are tied for third place, they will hold the 4th and 5th position. The next highest ranked team will receive the 5th place position.

7.4.2. Tied teams, as in the example above where teams tied for the 3rd and 4th position, will have the lower place (higher number) added into their final score.

7.4.3. If two or more teams tie after calculating overall tournament score, the highest ranked team in the Computational Thinking will receive the higher ranking. Next the Autonomous Flight Challenge will be used to break the next level tie. All other ties will remain tied.