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WUT students' aircraft wins prizes in an international competition

Photo of the students from the team from the SAE AeroDesign Science Club

The SAE Aero Design East competition took place in Florida and lasted from 10 to 12 March 2023, photo: Facebook / SAE AeroDesign Warszawa

Success of our students

They traveled to the United States to prove that they belong to one of the world's best student builders of remotely piloted aircraft. The team from the SAE AeroDesign Science Club returns to Poland with five podium places.

In the SAE Aero Design East competition, students from the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering presented aircraft of two classes: Micro and Regular. Micro aircraft won four awards: 3rd place in the general classification, 3rd place for completing the mission, 2nd place for technical presentation, and 3rd place for technical report. The Regular aircraft was especially appreciated for its technical report (3rd place), and it also took 4th place in the general classification and 4th place for completing the mission.

Fierce competition in the category of the smallest aircraft

The Micro class aircraft had to meet the basic requirements of the competition regulations, including a maximum power limit of 450 W, a span limit and the specificity of the mission profile.

– The purpose of the aircraft was to transport two types of cargo: boxes of the size of a small pizza and metal bars, explains Justyna Pluta. – In addition, the aircraft took off from a 2.4 m long platform located at a height of about 60 cm.

During the mission, the flight time from the start to the first turn was scored. In order to complete the flight, it was necessary to land in the designated zone.

– The delta aircraft we designed met all the requirements during the technical inspection and performed 12 scored flights during the competition – says Justyna Pluta. – The competition between the teams was extremely fierce, the point differences in the general classification were minute. Finally, after taking into account the results from the technical documentation, presentations and flights, we took 3rd place.

The Micro class team worked with Justyna Pluta (coordinator), Piotr Garbowski (coordinator), Wojciech Kulczyk and Piotr Godlewski. 

Photo of the Micro class aircraft

The Micro class aircraft won awards in technical categories and for flights, photo: Facebook / SAE AeroDesign Warszawa

Ambitious project

– The design of the Regular class aircraft prepared for the competition in 2023 was one of the most ambitious one in recent years – points out Michał Włodarczyk. – Under the new regulations, the wingspan was 216 inches (5480 mm), making it the largest aircraft in the history of our Science Club.

After a very short run-up (100 feet, or 30.48 m), the aircraft was supposed to carry the heaviest possible load in the form of metal bars. An additional challenge was the limit of 90 seconds for folding the wings on the lane and taking off. The aircraft was powered by one electric motor with a power limit of 750 W.

– One of the most important requirements in the Regular class since the beginning of the history of the competition is the ban on the use of composite elements (made of carbon and glass fibers) – reminds Michał Włodarczyk. – The exceptions are commercially available propellers and chassis. For this reason, the main materials in our construction were balsa wood and birch plywood. The most loaded elements were made of aerospace aluminum alloy, and where necessary, we also chose to use titanium.

Students had little time to make the aircraft – from the publication of the regulations to the sending of the structure, it was only 6 months. Despite these limitations, the aircraft performed 8 scored flights during the competition. 

– The aircraft completed the assumed mission and met our expectations – emphasises Michał Włodarczyk. – Now, before the SAE AeroDesign West in Texas, we have time to make some modifications that will improve performance.

The following were responsible for the Regular class aircraft: Michał Włodarczyk (coordinator), Julia Lesiuk, Bartosz Zięzio (Club President), Antoni Szczurko, Monika Mederska and Emil Kisielewicz. 

Photo of the Regular class aircraft

The regular class aircraft made 8 flights during the competition, photo: Facebook / SAE AeroDesign Warszawa

Time for joy and… another competition

The SAE Aero Design East took place in Florida and lasted from 10 to 12 March 2023. It was attended by 45 teams, including ones from the United States, Canada, India, Brazil, Mexico, China and Poland. 

– Emotions were reaching the climax, it was an amazing experience to be able to compete with teams from all over the world – admits Justyna Pluta admits – We sincerely congratulate everyone and wish success in the next edition.

WUT students do not have much time to celebrate. Before them, another trip across the ocean and start in the SAE AeroDesign West competition – April 14-16, 2023.