Learn about the Union College Aero Team's journey through the process of designing, building, testing, and competing at the 2019 SAE Aero Design West Competition held in Van Nuys, California April 5th-7th. SAE Aero is an international collegiate engineering event held each spring that literally draws teams from all around the world. Union has been sending teams to compete for over a decade. This year, Union’s team planned to compete in two events the “Micro Class” event (where Union finished 3rd overall in 2018) and the “Advanced Class” event. This poster discusses the Micro Class event.
The SAE Aero Micro Class competition tasks undergraduate students with designing and building a high performance aircraft that is completely modular (the plane and all of its payload must be fit into a small carrying case prior to flight) and can be assembled in under two minutes. Union College’s 2019 team has constructed an aircraft that weighs only 13.2 ounces and can carry over three times its weight as payload. The craft also assembles in well under two minutes and exploits friction fit techniques at almost every connection point to reduce weight and make assembly as fast as possible.
The 2019 Union College Flying Dutchmen have devised a variety of innovations to maximize aerodynamic performance including implementing ultra-thin high camber wings, implementing a T-tail design, and creating an entirely 3D printed fuselage. To make these features work, the team developed new construction techniques, refined our printing skills, and used cutting edge materials like Pro-PLA.
This poster presents the resulting design, subsystems, manufacturing, and the performance of the plane at competition.