Senior Project Takes Flight
A team of 17 MSOE students designed, built and successfully flew an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for their 2013 senior design project.
The “Air Raiders’” hard work began in April 2012 when the 11 mechanical engineers, four computer engineers and two electrical engineers put their heads together to come up with a plan to compete in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aero Design Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. They began testing various engines for their aircraft and brainstorming ideas. In mid-September they received the competition guidelines and rules and their project began to take off. project this year.
In just 100 days, the team designed and built a work prototype aircraft according to competition specifications. Coincidentally, this is the same amount of time it took for the P51 Mustang to get into production during wartime, circa 1940.
The Air Raiders flew their prototype on Jan. 19 with a hockey stick for the tail boom. The final version of the aircraft has a carbon tail, which is much thinner and lighter. In total, the plane weighs 8.5 pounds, has an 8-foot wingspan, is capable of carrying 15 pounds of cargo, and can drop an expellable 3 pound cargo at a target. The plane is equipped with GPS, a camera, altimeter and air speed indicator.
The team traveled to Fort Worth for the international competition, where they faced off against Virginia Tech, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, University of Western Ontario, Catolicha (Brazil), and others, including three teams from India. MSOE won the Second Place Overall Award in the Advanced Class, behind Missouri University of Science and Technology. The difference between first and second place was only 0.88 of a point! MSOE also took the Second Place Written Design Report Award and the Third Place Oral Presentation Award.