A team of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will fly its student-designed and -built 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 West Competition.
The Aero Design West Competition will be held Friday, April 6, through Sunday, April 8, at Van Nuys, California. Missouri S&T’s Miner Aviation Team will compete against approximately 75 other collegiate teams from around the world at the event.
The team’s flight objective is to use its plane to carry a “simulated humanitarian aid package,” a sandbag, which must be dropped on 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 data and a video feed to the team on the ground. Students will use this data to direct the plane and its package release, with the help of automatically calculated coordinates through onboard GPS.
Students must also pass a visual inspection of their aircraft and present a design report to SAE and Lockheed Martin experts for evaluation and scoring.
Missouri S&T’s plane is comprised of balsa wood covered in carbon fiber. This combination helps keep the plane lightweight and able to carry a heavier payload.
The Miner Aviation Team is one of 18 student-run teams in Missouri S&T’s Student Design and Experiential Learning Center (SDELC). The SDELC, housed in the Kummer Student Design Center, provides real-world team-based operations, including computer design laboratories, a manufacturing shop, office space and logistical support. Design teams mirror small start-up companies that plan large-scale projects, organize into departments, raise funds, communicate their ideas and solve open-ended design challenges. Most teams compete annually against other collegiate teams from around the country and the world. For more information about the teams, visit design.mst.edu.