Student team designs perfectly reliable aerodynamic model plane for SAE competition

Engineering Technology students rarely get experience with aerodynamic design, if at all. However, for their capstone senior project, Jonathan Grumble, Daniel Nunez, Adam McCullough, Bacari Robinson decided to defy the odds and built a model plane. "Team2Fly" entered the SAE Collegiate Competition Aero Design West, March 16th- 18th in Van Nuys, California.

"We did a lot of market research to learn as much as we could about the project and then spent about seven months working on it," said Robinson.

"Almost everyone designs cars for their major projects, which is why we wanted to do this. Besides, I have a strong interest in breaking into the aerospace industry," Adam McCullough said. "The support system here for testing and analysis in the College of Technology computer lab is phenomenal."

During the event, the cold and rainy weather was not ideal for flying. Nevertheless, the model plane achieved a 100 percent reliability rating, which means that there were no flight crashes. Only three other universities in the same category achieved this rating. Other judging criteria in the competition included design, technical presentation, and flight score.

"We hope the team next year can leverage this and build on our knowledge," Robinson said.

Impressed by the team’s tenacity and accomplishment, Dean William E. Fitzgibbon advised them to deep their documentation on the project because "it will be useful for a great career. Work on it in your spare time and memorialize this. You will be grateful and more successful in the long run."