by David Fleming , Associate Professor for Aerospace Engineering

On April 28th, a team of Aerospace Engineering students competed in the SAE Aero Design East airplane design competition at Marietta, GA, in the regular class. Competition rules required each team to design and build an airplane from scratch using a specified model airplane engine. The object is to take off in a maximum distance of 200 feet, carry the greatest possible payload for a circuit around the airfield, and land safely on the runway. In this year’s competition each team got five flight attempts to carry successively greater loads. Over the weekend lots of planes broke up in flight, and otherwise lost control. The Florida Tech team, “The Vermilion Project,” however, successfully completed all five flights.

Based on their “weight carried” and “points earned” for a technical paper and an oral presentation Florida Tech finished in 12th place out of a field of 40 registrants (31 of which fielded a aircraft at the competition). This is an outstanding result for a team of students who had never previously built a model aircraft, and who had no experience in this competition. They were competing against an international field of competitors. The top four finishers were from Brazil, Manitoba and Poland, and most of the high-ranking schools had a long and continuous history of competing in this competition.

As faculty adviser for the team, I am very proud. The team represented Florida Tech with distinction and professionalism and produced a very competitive aircraft. The student team was comprised of team leader, Hunter Garrett, along with team members John Adetoyese-Olagunju, Jessica DeVries, Anna Hallahan, David Jacobsen, Daby Osuji, Navaneeth Saiprasad, Kento Takura, and Seong Un Yang. Special thanks are also due to the pilot of the aircraft, Mr. David Cobb of the Indian River Kontrol Society, who did an excellent job keeping an underpowered, overloaded plane flying and landing safely. The team gratefully acknowledges generous sponsorship received from the Boeing Company and the Florida Tech College of Engineering.

More detail about the competition may be found here.

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