Dr. Thomas Hays’ Introduction to Aerospace Engineering class recently designed and built gliders for testing. In teams of two, students chose one of three “proposals” to design and build a prototype for: Range, Endurance or Payload.
On Dec. 10, 2015, the teams tested their glider prototypes in the field house. Each team launched their glider from a sled capable of propelling a one pound aircraft at 20 feet per second.
In addition to building the gliders, students wrote fully detailed reports requiring them to compute aircraft performance across the full range of possible speeds and all three mission objectives. Students developed code to calculate the best flight speed for their aircraft and perform simple trade studies to further optimize their score.
“The project naturally exposes students to the need for their future courses in flight mechanics, aerospace structures, aerodynamics and optimization,” said Dr. Hays. “It generated an environment where students naturally asked questions from these advanced topics, and the project also helped generate an eagerness to more completely answer questions about aircraft design.”
The winners of the Endurance Challenge were Colton Johnson and Jerrod Watson.
The winners of the Range Challenge were Sung Jae Kim and Shaik Zehad.
Check out the video of Kim and Zehad’s winning Range Challenge here.
Dr. Hays will continue this project in future classes, allowing each year to compete against the best records set by previous participants.
For more photos, please click here.