(Updated 10/20/2014, 11:15am - added to Q&A's)
Some of the excited 2014 participants!
The Aerospace Engineering department annually sponsors an aircraft design competition. The goal is to encourage involvement in a fun and educational activity.
Competing teams design and build an electric-powered, remote controlled, aircraft to fly a challenging mission. Undergraduate winners get their names on the Bronze Propeller Trophy. The sixth annual competition will be held in April 2015.
There are three participant categories: WSU undergraduate; high school; and professional. WSU aerospace alumni and graduate students participate in the professional category.
A successful design is well understood and properly developed from the beginning. Don’t let someone create a better overall design than you. Use engineering principles and methods to win!
Don't be shy. Form a team, build a plane, and fly! Mentors for high school and underclassmen student teams are recommended. Contact Dr. Miller for help finding a mentor.
Mission, Rules, & Guidelines
This year's mission is "A High-Speed, Short-Field, & Heavy-Lift Aircraft." A successful mission profile includes the following:
Competing planes must meet the following minimum requirements and constraints:
The exact flying location will be announced soon. The course dimensions are approximately 400x100-ft. Planes are expected to fly within this area at all times. The runway will be in the center and turns will be approximately 300-ft apart.
The competition score (SCR) is calculated using the following equation,
SCR=[(NB/4)^2] x (300/MT) x (100/TLF)
Where NB is the number of tennis balls flown, MT is the mission time (seconds), and TLF is the Takeoff/Landing Footprint (ft) rounded to the nearest foot.
Mission time (MT) begins the moment the plane starts to move and ends when the plane comes to rest after completing the mission landing.
The Takeoff/Landing Footprint (TLF) is the largest amount of runway centerline distance used during either the takeoff or landing. The TLF distance is measured from the designated downwind end of the runway.
A team’s best score, from all completed mission attempts, is used in determining final competition results.
Required Power System
Each plane must fly with a single Thunder Power PF70 Series LiPo three-cell battery pack. The pack will be supplied by WSU during the competition. The battery pack will operate the motor, ESC, receiver, and servos.
The manufacturer claims:
Actual WSU measured performance test results, for four different current levels, can be downloaded here.
There is a possibility that a specific Electronic Speed Control (ESC) will be required for all competitors as well. Please keep your eye on this site for updates.
All rules, requirements, and constraints are subject to interpretation and change by Dr. Miller.
Additional rules, requirements, and constraints can be added anytime.
Team members assume all risk with respect to disqualification (i.e., SCR=0).
Be sure to check the Questions & Answers (Q&A’s) section regularly.
A successful design is well understood and properly developed from the beginning. Don’t let someone create a better overall design!
Use engineering principles and methods to win!
Department Support & Mentors
The planes will be inexpensive to build. However, some teams may be eligible for limited AE department assistance to help build their plane (e.g., radio gear, motor, assorted supplies, laser cutting, etc.).
Additionally, as mentioned, the department will do what it can to provide mentors to help less experienced teams.
Deadlines for submitting department support, laser cutting, and other requests will be established in the spring semester. Teams must meet these deadlines.
Contact Dr. Miller for further information on mini-grant and mentor opportunities.
Engineer of 2020
Eligible WSU students, especially seniors, might be able to gain “Engineer of 2020” service-learning credit. These opportunities must be prearranged. Contact Dr. Miller for further information.
2015 Competition Flyer
Click here to download a Bronze Propeller flyer that you can post or share with friends. Spread the word, form a team, and compete.
Questions & Answers (coming soon)
Visit this section regularly for official Questions and Answers (Q&A’s) that can have an impact on your design efforts.
Q1: Can the plane’s configuration change between mission attempts?
A1: No. The plane’s design must stay fundamentally the same throughout the competition.
Q2: Can tennis balls be strapped or mounted to the aircraft exterior?
A2: No. The payload must be enclosed within the airframe.
Q3: Can the plane be hand-launched?
A3: Yes, if desired, but by just one team member (following a safety review and formal approval).
Q4: Is the TLF value for a hand-launched plane equal to zero?
A4: No. The TLF value relates to the actual physical space needed for takeoff or landing. Thus, the minimum TLF value is dependent most on the plane’s dimensions.
Q5: Can a person catch the plane on landing?
A5: No! A plane cannot be caught by anyone. Safety is a serious concern. Everyone must be clear of the flying area after takeoff.
Q6: Is it okay if parts of the plane drop, fall, or touch the ground during a mission?
A6: No. Anything significant parting from the plane or impacting the ground will terminate a mission attempt.
Q7: Can putty, epoxy-mixtures, or similar be used to build the plane?
A7: No, if it is load bearing. Yes, if it is simply used to aerodynamically smooth the airframe.
Q8: Can the aircraft land off the runway?
A8: No, takeoffs and landings away from the runway are not permitted.
Remember to check this area regularly! Contact Dr. Miller, by email, with questions - email@example.com
Competition Flying Days & Other Information
Competition flying days will be announced in the spring. Ideally, there will be 2-4 competition days scheduled in April (~10am to 4pm).
Field availability and the weather (WX) are dynamic and require last minute attention. So visit this site regularly for up-to-the-minute information!
Contact Dr. Miller, by email, with questions - firstname.lastname@example.org
"What I cannot build, I cannot understand" - Feynman
Visit this page often, don't miss important Q&A's and competition news!