CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University mechanical engineering seniors brought their newly designed remote control airplane to the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) International Aero Design East Competition in Florida March 9-11.
The team finished fourth in the international competition, the best in the university’s history. Georgia Tech won the competition, followed by Pontifical Catholic University (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) and the University of Cincinnati, which beat Cedarville by two points. The University of Michigan placed fifth.
Several national and international teams were unable to obtain a flight score due to the complexity and number of flight requirements. Cedarville flew in all of the seven rounds of competition.
The advanced competition requires teams to use an onboard telemetry system that relays flight information to a ground station to aim a weight onto a target from 100 feet in the air. The Cedarville team placed second in the presentation category and third in drop points — how close the weight landed to the target.
“This is the top airplane design, build and fly competition in the world, and advanced class is the most difficult measure of student skills at that competition,” said Dr. Timothy Norman, professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering. “We were competing against schools that had doctorate programs in aeronautical engineering. For Cedarville to place fourth in the world in the east competition reflects Cedarville’s excellent engineering department.”
Mechanical engineer seniors who competed were Jacob Danna, Logan Delk, Jordan Denen (Xenia), Christian Hopkins, Nathan Jaquish (Bellbrook), Rebekah Jensen, Wesley Kimmel, David King, Philip Kline, Anna Parkinson, Heather Reitmeyer, and Mark Watt. They designed and tested the RC plane during fall and early spring semester.
“Multiple organizers of the competition complimented Cedarville’s excellent problem-solving skills and positive influence on other teams. Our students functioned as a cohesive team, despite some technical issues,” Norman said. “The Cedarville students worked together to solve problems that arose; it was encouraging to watch. Students were even offered opportunities for employment at the competition. I am very pleased with these students for displaying all we have instilled in them over the past four years.”