The annual University Aeronautics Engineering Design Challenge was sponsored by
Those skills indeed paid off as team members have moved onto careers or graduate school.
The competition was part of a senior capstone design course sequence to help "students learn by actually designing something to create the best concept that meets customer's needs" said team adviser
Students designed a high-altitude, long-endurance aerial system that was cost-effective and best met
It featured a slick design with twin fuselages, each containing an engine and liquid hydrogen tanks to power the craft for nearly eight days. A combination of two such aircraft could have successfully provided the required coverage, added Raj.
The student team - comprised of nine seniors who all have graduated in May - dubbed their aircraft Gobble Hawk, a humorous homage to a similar
Student team members were
All of the students were seniors majoring in aerospace engineering at the start of the competition. Schmit served as team leader.
Team members discarded seven other concepts before choosing Gobble Hawk, a notion Raj called "learning about design by doing design." The choice of liquid hydrogen was twofold: It's a good fuel source with best energy density by weight and its only byproduct is water vapor. In a cost estimate formulated by the team, a fleet of two aircraft would cost roughly
Team members have used the experience from working on the project in new careers or to plan their return to academia in varying master's programs. Three team members are now working for
"Other team projects were helpful, but the scale, time commitment, and pressure that molded the work environment of this project made it a truly beneficial experience," said Ambers, now a sales engineer with
"All of our members now either have jobs or are continuing their education in the field of aerospace," added Coffey. "We also had two members of our team graduate top of the class with 4.0 [grade point averages] and well over half of the team graduated with honors. The unbelievable quality of the team enabled us to challenge each other to go above and beyond our individual capabilities to create a winning design."
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