Penn State places sixth at national aircraft design contest

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A team of Penn State students took sixth place at the 18th annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design/Build/Fly competition (DBF).

It was the best finish since Penn State first entered the contest in the 2006-07 academic year.

Seventy-two teams from 15 countries competed in the event, held April 11 to 13 in Wichita, Kan.

The DBF challenges student teams to design, fabricate and demonstrate the flight capabilities of an unmanned, electric powered, radio-controlled aircraft which can best meet a specified mission profile.

Each team's aircraft completed three missions: fly as many laps around a specific course as possible in four minutes, fly three laps around the same course with team specified payload capacity (1-pound increments) and fly three laps around the same course with 2-pound "patient/attendant" payload for fastest time.

Penn State's entry was named "The Kodiak."

Team members included aerospace engineering undergraduates George Farah, Nick Grasser, Nate Keegan, Evan Savage, Alex Troup and Eric Tschantz. Chris Saunders, a 2008 aerospace engineering graduate, was the aircraft's pilot.

Mark Maughmer, professor of aerospace engineering, served as the faculty adviser, and Ben Pipenberg, a 2011 aerospace engineering graduate, was the graduate student adviser.

The team received an AIAA design book and recognition at the competition.

Established in 1963, the AIAA is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

Last Updated May 12, 2014