SAE Aero Design team brings home awards

Competing against more than 70 schools from seven countries, the Texas A&M University SAE Aero Design Team in the Department of Aerospace Engineering brought back several awards from the 2017 SAE Aero Design West competition held in Fort Worth, Texas, March 10-12.

SAE Aero 2The Micro Class team placed third overall and received first place for their design report and sixth place in oral presentation. The Regular Class team placed second overall, with a first in oral presentation, second in most payload lifted and seventh in design report.

SAE Aero 1SAE Aero Design has two annual competitions where teams design and build remote control aircraft to meet mission requirements. The competition provides undergraduate and graduate engineering students with a real-life engineering challenge: design, build and fly an original R/C aircraft capable of lifting as much weight as possible within the competition’s design constraints.

The competition has been designed to provide exposure to the kinds of situations that engineers face in their real-life work environments. First and foremost, in a design competition students find themselves performing trade studies and making compromises to arrive at a design solution that will optimally meet the mission requirements while still conforming to the configuration limitations.

SAE Aero 3“What my teammates and I love about this design team and competition is that it challenges us to design an aircraft on a highly condensed timeline while still performing all trade studies, detailed analyses, manufacturing control and flight testing that a really small aerospace firm would,” said Matthew Wescott, executive director of the team. “That is all driven by friendly competition against other tier-one international schools.”

SAE Aero Design features three classes of competition – regular, advanced and micro. The objective of Regular Class is to maximize theoretical revenue as a large passenger class aircraft, carrying inert payload as luggage and tennis balls acting as passengers. Advanced Class requires teams to have a systems approach to the design while integrating several engineering disciplines: aeronautical, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineers. Micro Class teams are required to make trades between two potentially conflicting requirements, carrying the highest payload fraction possible while simultaneously pursuing the lowest empty weight possible.

SAE Aero 4The Texas A&M SAE Aero Design team, comprised of students from the departments of aerospace, mechanical and electrical engineering, is under the direction of Dr. Tom Pollock and led by Wescott. Other team leaders include Jonathan Chiu, Cullen Eckert, Brennan Harrison, Preetam Palchuru, Kyle Brookover, Michael Coopman, Bryce Prescott and Caleb Fisher.

Video provided by the SAE Aero Design '17 team.