Learn about the Union College Aero Team's journey through the process of designing, building, and testing an aircraft for the SAE Aero Design Competition. 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 presentation discusses the plane designed for the Advanced Class event.
Due to an overhaul of the rules for 2019, Advanced Class faced challenges that that brought the complexity of the event to an all-time high. This year an Advanced Class plane has to be designed to 1) carry as much internal payload as possible, 2) use remote control to drop additional specialized payloads into a target zone, and, new for 2019, 3) release a “colonist delivery aircraft” (CDA) from the main craft during flight. After release the CDA must autonomously fly itself to a safe landing in a specified target zone. Additionally, in a departure from previous year’s designs, this year’s advanced class plane makes significant use of carbon fiber to create lightweight yet strong structures for the fuselage and the wing. The use of carbon fiber added exciting new engineering challenges in both design and manufacture for the team to overcome; and doing so built valuable experience which will doubtless be applied to subsequent Union planes.
After spending the entirety of fall term designing, two weeks during winter break building a prototype, countless hours of testing the plane in harsh winter conditions, and improving the design based on the test results, the team successfully developed an innovative aircraft capable of fulfilling all of the mission requirements and documented that design in a formal report. This talk will discuss the resulting design, subsystems, manufacturing, and performance of the plane.