The Catholic University of America


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 CUA Mechanical Engineering Students Succeed at National Competition in Texas

This year, four teams of senior mechanical engineering students entered the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aero Design competition held in Fort Worth, Texas. In addition, a fifth team composed of junior mechanical engineering students also worked on the project and prepared for next year’s competition. The SAE Aero Design competition is a yearly international competition that provides undergraduate and graduate engineering students an opportunity to design, fabricate and fly radio-controlled RC airplanes.

The five teams spent countless hours during the Fall semester, each designing their own unique airplanes specifically for the competition. Through careful consideration of multiple different design decisions, each team arrived to a final design and the fabrication began. Once the planes were constructed and successful test flights were completed, the planes and students traveled to Texas. Two days and one thousand three hundred and sixty miles later, the students arrived in Texas.

Seventy-five teams entered the competition with teams from all over the world including South America, Europe, Canada and Mexico. One of the teams composed by Chelsea Good, Hong Nguyen, Nick Pavia and Joe Quigley scored 4th in the flight portion of the competition with three successful flights through the six rounds and was one of four teams that had more than three successful flights during the competition.

The competition was extremely educational and made possible by the course instructors, Dr. Joseph Vignola and Mr. Ken Romney, and the support of the department chairman, Dr. Sen Nieh, the machinist, Don Smolley, who helped the students build their planes, and Ms. Ruth Hicks, who provided administrative support throughout the project.