Penn State places seventh at national aircraft design contest

April 28, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A team of Penn State students took seventh place at the 19th annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design/Build/Fly competition (DBF).

A total of 100 teams registered for the competition this past August, 84 submitted design reports in February and 65 attended the competition fly-off, hosted by Raytheon Missile Systems April 10 to 12 at TIMPA Field in Tucson, Arizona.

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

This year's contest theme was to design a remote sensor delivery and drop system. The teams' aircrafts attempted three flight missions and one ground mission.

Each team was required to submit a written report that could be no more than 60 pages in length. Penn State's entry scored 89.5 points out of 100.

Overall scores were tallied from written report scores, total mission scores and rated aircraft costs.

Penn State's entry was named, "The Flugmeister."

Team members included aerospace engineering undergraduates Jason Cornelius, Sahil Desai, George Farah, Nate Keegan, Len Metkowski, Evan Savage and Rachel Schellberg. Chris Saunders, a 2008 aerospace engineering graduate, was the aircraft's pilot.

Mark Maughmer, professor of aerospace engineering, served as the faculty adviser, and Nick Grasser, a 2014 aerospace engineering alumnus, was the graduate student adviser.

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

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

Last Updated April 29, 2015