Students at the
University of Kansas School of Engineering took third place at the Society of Automotive Engineers Aero Design West competition, April 22-24 in Fort Worth, Texas.
The annual competition allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real situations. Students must design, build and fly a radio-controlled aircraft that is capable of carrying large amounts of weight. The teams aircraft, the "Sub-SubSonic Cruiser," carried 16.5 pounds.
During the competition, teams submitted a written report and gave a 15-minute presentation that determined half of their score. After the first day of competing, the KU team was in second place. More than 35 teams registered for the competition, however not all teams were able to complete their project in time.
Kyle Hunt, aerospace engineering senior and project manager, had high hopes for the final outcome.
"After the presentation, I knew that we had a good chance of winning," says Hunt.
The other half of the score came from test flights. Teams had the opportunity to increase scores by consecutive flights with additional weight. Competitors had six to 10 flight opportunities during the 1.5 days of flying.
Normally, teams start with lower weights in the earlier rounds and progressively add more weight. The teams first flight carried 12 pounds and the second flight carried 16.5 pounds. On the last flight, the team attempted to carry 19 pounds.
Team members were presented a check for $500 and a plaque for their third place finish.
Now that the competition is over, Hunt has mixed emotions about the outcome.
"I am happy about winning third place. But I'm also a little disappointed because I thought we could take it," says Hunt.
KU team members are:
- Project Manager
- Wing Construction Lead
- Structural Analyst
- Fuselage Construction Lead
- Empennage Construction Lead
- Landing Gear Construction Lead
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Story by Pauline Himmelwright