Wrocław University of Technology Students Aviation Club. From the left side: Jan Byrtek, Dominik Kędzierski and Piotr Chmielewski (phot. Krzysztof Mazur)
This year, the Wrocław University of Technology Students Aviation Club is preparing not two, but three unmanned aeroplanes. Plane designers will compete at the unofficial world championships already on 14 March, so the Club’s workshop is a beehive of activity
Wrocław University of Technology students will participate in the SAE Aerodesign competition for the seventh time. Last year, they came back from the USA with medals in five classifications, including a gold medal for winning one class.
75 teams from all over the world will participate in this year’s edition of SAE Aerodesign East. The event is commonly recognized as unofficial world championships for unmanned plane designers. It is organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) together with Lockheed Martin, an aviation tycoon, famous for manufacturing the F-16 and F-22 fighters.
The designers will compete in three classes: Regular, Micro, and Advanced. In each case, their task is to build an unmanned plane able to carry as heavy load as possible. The classes differ in the limitations imposed on the plane structure. For example, in the “Regular” class, the sum of length, height, and wing span may not exceed 175 inches, and no advanced materials are allowed, such as carbon fibre, glass fibre, or aramid fibre.
In the “Micro” class, the composite structure of the plane must fit into a box of dimensions defined by the organizers and must be assembled to be ready to flight, including attaching the load, in three minutes.
In the “Advanced” class, the plane has to be able not only to carry the load but also to drop it from 33 metres in such a way that it lands as close as possible to the target on the ground. It’s a simulation of a humanitarian airdrop. In this class, the planes are really big – their wing spread reaches 3.2 metres.
And this year, the ”Jetstream” team from our Students Aviation Club, will for the first time take part in the “Advanced” class competition.
“We wanted to try something new. We received a grant of 150 000 PLN from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education as part of the ‘Generacja Przyszłości’ [Generation of the Future – translator’s note] programme, which allowed us to take part in all three classes.” – says Jan Byrtek, head coordinator of the team’s work.
The students are finalizing their work. The competition starts on 14 March, and at the end of February the Students Aviation Club plans an official presentation of their planes.
Translation: Dariusz Więcławski