Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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AEM spotlight:

Undergrads continue tradition of excellence, Win flight competition

Team photo from left to right Scott Wright, Lynn Huynh, Sam Wells, Chris Feist, Serge Berg, Jon Olson, Josh Eckhoff, Chris Krajnik, James Hohn, Azim Rashdi, Rick Bird (Volunteer Pilot)

For the third out of four years running, a University of Minnesota Aerospace Engineering student team won first overall in the Western SAE Micro Class Heavy Lift Competition held in Fort Worth, Texas on March 18, 2011.

The event focused on developing young engineers’ skills by challenging them to design, build and test a radio controlled plane and adhere to the rules and regulations put forth by SAE International. The competition involved designing, building and flying a micro aircraft which will would carry the heaviest possible payload. The aircraft was required take off in less than 100 feet, fly a figure eight course, and land successfully in less than 200 feet. The aircraft had to fit into a 24x16x8 inch box and had be assembled from the box in 3 minutes or less. The competition has been designed to provide exposure to real world situations that engineers face in their everyday work environment.
The University of Minnesota's team consisted of 9 AEM seniors along with a first-year graduate Teaching Assistant, and reclaimed the overall first place trophy that the University held between 2008 and 2009. The aptly named "Pinky and the Brains" team not only took back the overall first place in their micro class division, but also brought back 2nd in Highest Payload Fraction, 2nd in Highest Payload Lifted and Design Report, and 3rd in Oral Presentation. The team flew every single round despite the high winds and were glad of this opportunity for hands-on experience and project management exercises that provided them with the skills to enter the real world environment in aerospace engineering.

Other photo is takeoff distance from the white line with 1.7lbs payload.
The University of Minnesota’s aircraft used a NASA high lift 9000 series airfoil. The maximum successful payload lifted was 4.1 lbs. With a maximum successful payload fraction of 73% (weight of the aircraft was 1.45 lbs). The ratio of successful flights to total flights was 5 out of 9. The maximum payload lifted was 5.5 lbs but the aircraft came in about 5 ft. short of the landing line. The AEM aircraft was the most stable and smooth flying micro class plane at the competition despite severe wind. The competition was very close with the second place going to a team from Poland

The aircraft was designed during the senior design course and consisted of the Chris Krajnik, Azim Rashdi, Scott Wright, Josh Eckhoff, Sam Wells, Chris Feist, Jonathan Olson, Lynn Huynh, and James Hohn. Dr. William Garrard was the Professor who taught the course and Serge Berg was the Teaching Assistant who worked closely with the students and accompanied them to Fort Worth.


Last Modified: Thursday, 23-Aug-2012 09:59:10 CDT -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation