AEM Senior Design Team participates in the
Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aero Design West Competition
The AEM Senior Design Team, the Flying Gophers,
participated in the SAE
Aero Design West Competition on March 10-12, 2017,in Fort Worth, Texas.
Nicolas Pardoe, from the Student Chapter of the American Institute of
Aeronautics and Astronautics, was the test pilot for the team.
| Flying Gopher Team
members, Stephen Beck, Jason Adlam, Ben Garstecki,
Wilson Lau, Stephen
Link, and Ilya Zubarev
The competition consisted of 75 different college
teams from all over the world (Canada, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Poland, and
the United States). The AEM Senior Design Team designed an aircraft for the
Micro Class category of the competition. Their objective was to design a
light-weight, UAV style aircraft that could be quickly deployed from a small
package with a high payload ratio.
The three day competition consisted of the following
- A detailed technical inspection to verify consistency with
- A presentation on the details of their design and
- Six rounds of flight competition
Throughout the competition, the team experienced multiple issues
with their aircraft. The plane crashed a total of five times due to
lateral/directional control issues, misconnected wires, and broken ribs on the
tail. Despite these setbacks, the team continued to creatively re-build their
aircraft while under tight time constraints. Their persistence paid off, and
flight attempt number six was a complete success.
The Flying Gophers finished the competition in ninth place out
of 24 teams. They had a great experience and learned a lot about real-time
problem solving under significant time pressure. Great job, Gophers!
SAE team received funding from the Boeing Corporation. We greatly appreciate