eye_in_the_sky_promo3.gif January 29, 2000 marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lawrence Hargrave arguably, the father of Australian Aviation.

To mark the special occasion, Monash University's 'Aerobotics Research and Development Group' flew a number of missions with their U.A.V (unmanned aerial vehicle) systems from the V.A.R.M.S model aircraft field in suburban Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Images from the day's events were recorded for posterity ....enjoy.

To further mark the occasion, Dr Greg Holland, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Aerosonde Ltd, presented Monash with an Aerosonde to be named in honour of Lawrence Hargrave.


Professor John Bird, Terry Cornall, the future Aerosonde "Lawrence Hargrave", Dr Greg Holland and Ray Cooper

The system is to be used within a collaborative research and development program between Aerosonde Ltd. and the university's Centre for Telecommunications and Information Engineering (CTIE), under the direction of Professor Greg Egan.

"The loan of the Aerosonde test-bed aircraft system represents the first stage of what we see as an important strategic collaboration with Monash University." Dr. Greg Holland said.

"The Aerosonde is a product of creative research that started almost a decade ago and we look forward to the planned collaborative work on camera and imaging systems, secure data transmissions and control systems emerging to support our needs over the next decade."

"Our vision is of a global autonomous airline based in Melbourne. Rather than transporting people, this airline will provide essential information for meteorology, air-sea rescue, customs interdiction and a wide range of other applications.

This vision moves one step closer over the next six months as the Bureau of Meteorology conducts a major series of trials with Aerosonde operations in Bass Straight."

"Aerosonde Ltd is strongly committed developing university research interests in autonomous aircraft and related systems. The company will continue fund the substantial level of research and development that is required for us to develop into one of the major international operators of civilian UAVs."

"We look forward to the collaboration with Monash leading to the generation of creative ideas and attracting bright young minds to work in our industry, all of which are crucial to our continued success."

"I am particularly pleased to be making this presentation on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lawrence Hargrave. I grew up in Wollongong and recall standing on Stanwell Tops and imagining the type of person that he must have been.

To arrive at an idea, to construct the machine, and then to launch oneself into space to prove that it works required a rare combination of intellect and engineering ability, with perhaps a dash of sheer courage."

"The aircraft that we are providing to Monash is being renamed 'Lawrence Hargrave' to mark the occasion. This will be the first of a series of Aerosondes to be named after Australian aviation pioneers."

Dr. Greg Holland, Director, Strategic Planning, Aerosonde Ltd.
January 28, 2000


Ray Cooper, Monash University's UAV pilot, gets a briefing from Gavin Brett, Lead Development Engineer for Aerosonde Ltd.

Aerosonde "Lawrence Hargrave" will be configured to fly under the prevailing Australian Radio Control (ARC) regulations which apply to model aircraft pilots.

Ray Cooper, a highly experienced 'RC' aircraft builder, pilot is also a longstanding member of the V.A.R.M.S group which have kindly provided access to Monash R&D team to the club's field in South Wantirna (Melbourne Australia), for some of Monash's UAV missions and tests.

Ray, who is actively involved Monash University's CTIE's projects researching live video imaging and telepresence control systems, has also kindly provided access to a number of his own aircraft for use in test flights conducted over the past two months.


Dr Greg Holland, Professor John Bird and the future Aerosonde "Lawrence Hargrave"

Only a few days later it was down to the Aerosonde headquarters (now located near Monash) for the actual handover of the aircraft


Brian Taylor, Business Manager, Aerosonde Ltd. 'shakes on the deal' with Monash University's Sonja Ahrens

At the rear Aerosonde's Gavin Brett (partially hidden) Ray Cooper and also hidden Professor Greg Egan


Aerosonde's Gavin Brett, briefing Monash's Professor Greg Egan and Sonja Ahrens


Does the phrase "like a kid (or kids in this case) with a new toy" sound familiar?

Smiles all round from Ray (me first) Cooper, Professor Greg (you like working at Monash Ray?) Egan and Sonja (hey ! ladies first PLEASE !) Ahrens

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Last updated November 17, 2001