2003 Warman Competition

Warman Competition 2003

Sydney, Australia - September 2003

Competition Rules


A crisis is brewing on the outlying planet Vayu for the Gondwana Home Office.Through secure communications, the Home Office has learnt that Gondwanan expatriates have been imprisoned in an old mine by a rebel tribe.

At the mine, the rebel guards control the only lift and the only alternative access to the ground surface is via a large diameter (relative to the Gondwanans) vertical shaft. ; The shaft strangely has a centre pole anchored solidly in the floor. The pole, a remnant from past mining activity, projects above the ground surface but is unsupported above the tunnel floor.The pole is believed to be structurally sound but the vertical walls of the shaft are unstable and can not be climbed. However, the horizontal tunnel and passages leading from the vertical shaft are quite extensive, and perhaps unknown to the rebels, they are quite well stocked with tools, building materials and basic engineering supplies.

The rebel tribe guards have chosen to base themselves adjacent to the vertical shaft both at ground level and within the mine. They have shown no interest in monitoring the remainder of the mine system. The prisoners have undertaken surveillance of the rebels and it is evident that there are windows of opportunity for escape but timing and secrecy are important to maximise the opportunity for all to escape. While ferocious, the rebels have poor sight in the low light conditions of the mine. Their behaviour is also curious in that they have never been seen to look up and once a day they all take a break for a game of cards, which appears to have them, totally engrossed and oblivious to anything going on around them.

During the card playing would be an ideal time to mount an escape attempt.The Gondwanan captives are not engineers. If they are to make use of the resources available to them, they need to be given a plan and instructions.

The Gondwana Home Office is keen to assist the expatriates in effecting an escape and safe return to Gondwana. It is proposed that if the prisoners can make it to the ground surface with precise timing, assistance can be rendered through unobserved evacuations with vertical take-off and land aircraft at the mine head.

Fortunately, teams of mechanical-engineering students from Earth are about to visit Gondwana as part of their work experience programmes. On previous visits engineering students have rendered invaluable assistance, and the Gondwanans again seek help from these budding engineers.


The objective is to design, build and prove a prototype device that when constructed in the field would enable the Gondwanan expatriates to escape the rebels' clutches by reaching the ground surface with precise timing.Can your team Engineer a Safe and Clandestine Ascent of imPrisoned Expatriates?


Winners 2003

  • 1st University of Western Austraila (Dane Lance, Acacia Milroy, Matthew Philson, Scott Cranston)
  • 2nd Swinburne University (Micheal Anderson, Brad Donaldson, Michael Henderson, Scott Cranston)
  • 3rd University of Newcastle (Thomas McConaghey, Scott Hopton)
  • Encouragement Award University of Southern Queensland (Todd Radonich, Ben Nielsen, Aston Marks, Ryan Domrow, Daniel Faulkner)


Photos from the 2003 Warman Competition

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