Airplane built at S&T to fly in competition

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On March 26, 2008

On April 4-6, an unusually large number of
aircraft will be buzzing through the skies above a field in Fort Worth, Texas,
and some of them will undoubtedly

That’s what happened to a remote-controlled
airplane built by Missouri University of Science and Technology students last
year, when conditions at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ annual Aero
Design Competition were very

“The tail fell off,” says Missouri S&T
team member Jared Loebs, a senior in aerospace engineering from St. Charles,
Mo. “This year it’s bolted

Missouri S&T’s 2007 airplane, which had a
wingspan of 10 feet and was capable of lifting a payload of 40 pounds, was
doing well in the competition until the ill-fated flight involving the loss of
its tail (which was followed by a spectacular

Each year, university teams design and build
high-tech, remote-controlled aircraft in anticipation of the event in Texas.
The teams are judged on load lifting capabilities, flight scores, written
design reports and oral presentations. The Aero Design Competition usually
attracts about 50 student design teams from North

Missouri S&T’s 2008 twin-engine plane is
very similar to its 2007 model apart from the strengthened tail section and new
wheels for take-off on grass. In the past, teams used paved runways. This year,
the planes will have a 200-foot swath of grass to use for takeoffs and

Loebs says the 2008 vehicle weighs 13 pounds
and is capable of moving through the air at 85 feet per

While the planes are designed and built by
students, the controls must be operated by registered remote-controlled
aircraft pilots. Kelly O’Conner of Rolla will fly the Missouri S&T plane in

Loebs is the chief engineer and Elijah
Schuldt, a senior in aerospace engineering from Cambridge, Minn., is president
of Missouri S&T’s 2008 Advanced Aero Vehicle Team. 

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On March 26, 2008. Posted in News