A team of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology won first place in the advanced class at the Society of Automotive Engineers' annual Aero Design East competition this past weekend.
The SAE Aero Design East competition was sponsored by Lockheed Martin and held Friday, March 15, through Sunday, March 17, at the Fort Worth Thunderbirds Flying Field in Fort Worth, Texas. S&T's Advanced Aero Vehicle Group (AAVG) competed with 75 collegiate teams from around the world.
In this year's competition there were four components. Students presented a technical design to SAE and Lockheed Martin for review and passed a technical inspection of their aircraft on the first day. The team then flew its plane once on Saturday and again on Sunday.
S&T's team earned first in the presentation portion and third in design. The team was in first place overall at the end of the first day.
The team's objective for the flight portion was to use its 8-pound plane to carry a 15-pound static payload and a 3-pound "humanitarian aid package," a sandbag, which was to be dropped on a target from 100 feet in the air. Scoring was based on the sandbag's proximity to the specified target.
In an unprecedented experience, no advanced class team was able to complete the run successfully on either day. Teams struggled in the strong Texan winds and even after achieving liftoff, many teams crashed or failed to target the designated drop zone. With no points being awarded for the flight aspects, the Miners remained in first place.
"The excitement that comes with a first place effort can never be removed from those that invested themselves into the dream," says Dr. Paul Hirtz, interim director of the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center at S&T. "Even after a late setback, crashing its first plane during testing, the team never gave up and focused on its ultimate goal, determined to be successful. That determination has awarded the team and the whole S&T community Miner pride that we can all be proud of now and into the future."