LAKELAND – College teams from around the world will call the air above Lakeland their battleground as their model aircraft sized designs compete for air supremacy in the 2017 SAE Aero Design competition.
The competition – put on by SAE International, a globally active professional association for engineering in various industries – seeks to simulate all the variables that a real-life engineering challenge can hold over a one-year period. In this case, the challenge is to design an original airplane that performs pre-determined tasks, create it and fly it in front of peers.
This year, there are three classes of aircraft – and challenges – to choose from. In the Regular Class, the aircraft is to be a model of a passenger plane, designed to carry “passenger” tennis balls and their luggage. In the Advanced Class, the radio controlled model has to drop multiple two-pound “humanitarian aid packages” from a minimum of 100-feet above ground level – and hit a target. And in the Micro Class, the object is to assemble the plane quickly from a small package before flying it. The overall score is a combination of scores from an oral presentation, the design report, and the flight performance. The flight performance, which is determined by time available, normally consists of between four and six rounds.