Crimson Skies Places 5th at International AIAA DBF Competition

Congratulations to the University of Oklahoma’s Crimson Skies Design Build Fly team for their 5th place finish at the International AIAA Design Build Fly Competition in Wichita, Kansas on April 15-17, 2016. The competition hosted 80 teams from across the world including the University of Texas, Georgia Institute of Technology, Cornell University, University of Southern California, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cairo University, Johns Hopkins University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and many more.

Competition Details:

  • The team successfully completed tech inspection on its first attempt.
  • [Mission 1]  The airplane overheated and short circuited a motor on the first flight (working hard against 20 MPH Wichita winds melted the insulating enamel on the coils).
  • The team was prepared with spare parts to repair the aircraft and propulsion system. They removed took two cells to avoid a similar motor failure and were successful in the very next flight window (~1.5 hours later, still in 20MPH winds).
  • [Mission 2] Mothership airplane carried the smaller craft internally, one lap, good landing just as practiced (25MPH winds).
  • [Mission 3] The team executed the most problematic mission without issue in the most challenging winds of the contest (30MPH).


Team members of Crimson Skies include:

  • Dalton Gregory, Project Manager
  • Seth Fackler, Chief Engineer
  • Alex Spens, Structures Group Lead
  • Dan Carlton, Propulsion Group Lead
  • Nathan Justus, Aerodynamics Group Lead
  • Aaron Allred, Control Systems Specialist
  • Alec Watson, Propulsion Dynomometer Development
  • Chris Sherlock, Manufacturing Specialist
  • Christine Greve
  • Hunter Herzfeld
  • Timothy Blackford
  • Clayton Smith
  • Amy Griffin
  • Alex Bryant
  • Vishnu Priya Parasaram
  • Dylan Gregory
  • Thomas Hays, Faculty Advisor

2016-04-16 16.31.51This top five finish was the best ever finish for OU’s Crimson Skies DBF! A very special thanks to NORDAM for its team sponsorship. The success of the University of Oklahoma at this competition is in great part due to the resources made available by NORDAM.

Congratulations, Crimson Skies! We are so proud of your hard work and great success!

OU Student Working on Second Book while Pursuing Engineering Degree

by Lama Agha, OU Daily

Ciora TaylorOU student Ciore Taylor pursues multiple interests ranging from mathematics to professional writing.

Taylor, a mechanical engineering junior, has already written and published her first book and is now in the process of writing her second.

Taylor grew up in a small town in Kansas with a population of 8,000. Her family now lives in Tulsa.

“Attending a public school in a small town taught me the value of hard work, individuality and respect for people,” Taylor said. “When I was 16, I moved to Tulsa and attended a private school and learned the value of diversity, communication and respect for myself.”

The transition from a small public school to a larger private school altered Taylor’s life, and she talks extensively about her experiences in her book, she said.

Taylor’s first book, “The Conversation Starts Here: A Perspective of Self, Culture and the American Society,” talks about bridging the miscommunication gap.

“My purpose in writing this book is to shed light on the gray areas of communication and help others to understand that not all people who impact you in a negative way have negative intentions,” Taylor said. “My life has equipped me with many examples that force me to give humanity the benefit of the doubt in regards to other people’s motives.”

These lessons have taught Taylor about starting new relationships with a clean slate and giving multiple chances to walk in someone else’s shoes, she said.

Taylor is currently working on her second book, “Pressing Past the Pain,” which has a different intended audience than her first book.

“This book is for the ladies and highlights the power of self-love, letting go and pressing past the pain of a relationship that did it’s best to break you,” Taylor said. “This book teaches women how to root themselves with faith and hope for the future rather than an unchangeable past that only brings your spirit down.”

Though Taylor has been a successful writer, she chose to major in mechanical engineering. In fact, she said she never considered majoring in English.

“I was visiting OU and had a tour scheduled for the College of Journalism at four, so I was encouraged to visit another tour as I waited,” Taylor said. “I chose to go tour the College of Engineering, and visiting that college felt like home from the moment I set foot into Rawls Engineering Practice Facility. That day, I never made it to hear about the school of journalism, and I absolutely do not regret it.”

For four terms, Taylor has worked for two leading companies in the engineering industry, Shell Oil Company and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Company, she said.

“Success in writing has been a great accomplishment, but the success I have accomplished in engineering is also rewarding,” Taylor said.

To read more from Taylor, follow her blog here. Her novel can also be purchased here.

To view the original article, please visit the OU Daily. 

AME Graduate Student Receives Third Place in AIAA Region IV Competition


Andrew Kocarnik is pictured on the right with his third place certificate.

AME Graduate Student Andrew Kocarnik recently participated in the AIAA Region IV Graduate Student Paper Competition receiving third place. His paper is titled, “Analysis of the Momentum Method and Blade Element Theory as Applied to Rotorcraft.” Andrew is currently pursuing his M.S. in Aerospace Engineering at OU.

“His work in our helicopter-centric independent study has been exemplary, and the award is well deserved,” said Assistant Professor Thomas Hays, Ph.D. “This paper was based on just the first portion of his work in the semester!”

As a third place winner, Andrew received a $250 cash prize.

Congratulations, Andrew!

Sooner Rover Team Featured on KOKH Fox 25

The Sooner Rover Team was featured on KOKH Fox 25 news on Tuesday, April 12th. Check out the segment below. The Sooner Rover Team will be at the Norman Public Library on Saturday, April 30th at 2:00PM to showcase their rover and tell you all about the upcoming competition. For more information, visit

View photos of the segment on the AME Facebook page.

AME Undergraduates Receive UROP Support

Two teams of mechanical engineering seniors recently received financial support from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) funded through the Office of the Vice President of Research. AME students Mckenna Beard and Tyler Spencer worked together on one project; Robert Berryman and Austin Burrus teamed up for the other project. With the support from UROP, the two teams received research grants of $1,000 each for creative, hands-on projects under the mentorship of a faculty member. Dr. Kuang-Hua Chang, AME Professor, mentored both teams while Jawanza Bassue, AME graduate student, mentored as a design consultant.

Both of the teams had similar objectives: to design a green-energy tricycle that will appeal to commuters at a sale price of $2,000. For Beard and Spencer, their ultimate goal was to create a vehicle that would allow an individual to travel more than 40 miles on a single battery charge without exerting excessive energy. As for Berryman and Burrus, their goal was to improve frame integrity through analysis and lab testing while also reducing the cost of building the frame.

Every year, UROP recipients present the results of their research or accounts of their work in progress at the Honors College’s Undergraduate Research Day. The AME teams presented their research at the annual event on Saturday, April 2, 2016.

Tyler Spencer and Mckenna Beard

Tyler Spencer and Mckenna Beard

Robert Berryman and Austin Burrus

Robert Berryman and Austin Burrus