A team of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will fly its student-designed and -built remote-controlled airplane over 100 feet into the air and drop sandbags onto a target as part of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) annual Aero Design East Competition.
The competition will be held Friday, March 11, through Sunday, March 13, at the Fort Worth Thunderbird Field in Fort Worth, Texas. Missouri S&T’s Advanced Aero Vehicle Group-Aero SAE will compete against approximately 20 other collegiate teams from around the world at the event.
The team’s flight objective is to use its plane to carry several 2-pound sandbags, meant to simulate a humanitarian aid package, and drop them to a fixed location on the ground. Scoring for this event is based on the sandbag’s proximity to the location.
During flight, electronics on the plane will transmit real-time altitude and a live video feed to the team on the ground. Students will use this data to direct the team’s remote-controller “pilot,” who lines up to drop the sandbags with the help of automatically calculated coordinates through onboard GPS.
Missouri S&T’s plane has an approximate 9-foot wingspan. Its frame is comprised of a composite mixture of balsa wood and carbon fiber. This frame combination helps keep the plane lightweight and able to take more load on during flights. It can carry almost three times its weight on typical flights.
Students must also pass a visual inspection of their aircraft and present a design report to flight and aerospace experts for evaluation and scoring.
For more information about the competition, visit students.sae.org.