Engineering Students Take Flight

Samueli students place 7th in annual radio-controlled aircraft Design/Build/Fly competition

June 23, 2006 - A team of 20 Samueli School engineering students have placed seventh in the 10th annual Cessna/ONR Student Design/Build/Fly Competition sponsored by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).  The international event, held in Wichita, Kan., attracted students from multiple universities and engineering fields to compete for the best and most efficient design, fabrication and demonstration of flight capabilities of an electric-powered, radio-controlled aircraft. The UC Irvine team competed against 49 other schools and received 601.6 total points, placing above universities such as MIT, Purdue, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The teams flew three different loads: 48 tennis balls, two 2-liter bottles of water, and a 4”x4”x24” wooden block.  Scores for this mission were based on cargo loading and unloading time, giving the students a practical demonstration of the importance of cargo loading time for commercial aircrafts. 

Students were also judged on their plane’s ability to handle a minimum Rated Average Cost (RAC) mission of 96 tennis balls, as well as an incremental payload mission, tallied based on the highest weight carried.

UC Irvine competition advisors included Robert H. Liebeck, adjunct professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and senior fellow at The Boeing Company, Ben Tigner, Ph.D., from Frontier Systems, and James Bach from Swift Engineering. The students also worked with Associate Dean John LaRue to perform tests within UC Irvine’s Wind Tunnel Lab.

Student chief engineer Matt Garcia led the project, and was supported by:

Alan Lai (graduate student)
Albert Ye
Alex Jordan
An Vu
Anthony Tran
Cesar Rivadeneyra
Jeff Wilschke
Jessie Lawson
Ji Son
Kevin Hung
Lawrence Alexander
Lino Delli Quadri
Michael Tran
Nathan Jarvis
Praveen Desilva
Rebecca Shupe (graduate student)
Rhett Roback
Thomas Ihde (graduate student)
Will Kim

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