AA flew the 180 last week, and Masten is going to attempt the 90 second flight tomorrow.
I think that the 180 second event will be a stretch for both Masten and Unreasonable.
The 90 second event may come down to who has the best GPS equipment.
Toward that end I've recently purchased a pair of Trimble BD960 L1-L2 Glossnass RTK Rover and Base GPS units with all the accuracy enhancing options. I also got what I consider to be a very favorable ruling on from the judges on what can be counted as payload weight.
I've been flying with a very light L1 GPS from Crescent, its a nice GPS, and flies well,but as a L1 GPS its just not accurate enoough if the prize will be won or lost on GPS accuracy.
So I asked the judges the following question:
If a camera is carried and used to enhance landing accuracy, can it be counted as payload?
(The history here is yes it can be payload)
Since a GPS position reporting is also part of the required payload can I carry a 2nd really accurate GPS report its position for the payload requirements and manually use the information to correct my posiition, just like a camera. I expected them to rule that cameras used for landing accuracy could not be counted as payload, instead The answer I got back kind of suprised me, yes the 2nd GPS can be payload as long as it is not required for flight, and it does not matter how the data is communicated to the vehicle. So it can even be automatic. you might think that this is a lot of fuss over a few ounces of electronics, but to get really really accurate GPS you need a good survey grade choke ring antenna, a good one can weigh as much as 12 pounds or more.
Now I can count that as payload!!!!! This should give me accuracy in the 2cm range, if only I could control the vehicle that tightly. I've started working on that with the helicopter a so far I'm consistently better than what armadillo reported for accuracy on their flights. how much better I won't reveal until the end of October.(The Helicopter can't carry the weight of my really good antenna, so I'm using a lesser antenna hence the vehicle should be at least as good.)
A sobering though is that it would be possible to accomplish both the 90 and 180 second tasks and still walk away from the competition empty handed. If Masten,Unreasonable both accomplish their goals, its very likely that one of the three teams will get nothing.
Masten, Unreasonable and Armadillo all do the 180.
Masten and unreasonable are more accurate, Armadillo gets nothing. That is clearly the least likely scenario, but anything is possible.
Two years ago there was one team attempting and no winners.
This year its a real possibility that all the prizes will be won with more successes than winners.
Also today was the last possible day to register for the event, so we should also hear from Xprize in the next few days to learn if there are any surprise teams registering at the last minute.