The M-Fly team designed a high-wing monoplane for the 2013 SAE Aero Design East Competition on March 15-17 in Fort Worth, Texas. We completed our aircraft in mid-January and perfomed two successful test flights in the snow on January 26, 2013.
Competition Day 1 Friday (March 15) consisted of the oral presentation and tech inspections for all teams and their aircraft. We had the first oral presentation of the day and felt that we did really well with it for being able to answer all the judges' questions and complete the payload load/unload demonstration within the allotted 1 minute. After the oral presentations, we took our plane to the tech inspection station to ensure that our plane matched our previously submitted plans and that nothing was loose or could cause problems for the flying rounds. There was a mass team meeting later that night for all teams participating in the competition, and later that night, we learned that our team had won both the written design report AND the oral presentations for the regular class (out of 39 teams)!!
Competition Day 2The next day we got up bright and early to compete in the flying rounds of the competition. There were some pretty significant winds throughout the day (20-25 mph), so all teams were struggling to fight it . The team attempted the empty weight bonus round, for Round 1 and we were able to fight the wind until the landing where we were pushed off the runway at the last second and disqualified for not being on the runway. Round 2 went well for the team with 13.18 lbs of payload for a flight score that counted. For Round 3, the team flew with 17 lbs of payload. The plane made it all the way to the end before the muffler became loose on the engine, disqualifying the flight. We fixed the engine and went up to 21 lbs of payload for Round 4. Once again, it looked like the flight was going fairly decently even with the wind until the final approach for landing when the pilot couldn't get the plane lined up with the runway and the plane ended up crashing behind the hill.
Competition Day 3 By Sunday morning, M-Fly had rebuilt our aircraft and was ready to go. For Round 5 (first round on Sunday), we put 23 lbs of payload into the plane. Unfortunately, it looks like the plane pitched up too quickly on takeoff, causing the left wing to stall and the plane to crash just beside the runway. There was fairly significant damage to the structure of the plane after that round, but the team decided to attempt an extreme rebuild in 1.5 hours to get the plane flying around again for the next/last round of the competition. With a lot of duct tape, epoxy, and string, the team actually finished the plane to be ready for Round 6. As soon as it lifted off the ground with the 17 lbs of payload, the right wing snapped off and the plane crashed (pretty spectacularly) into the runway.
ResultsOverall, M-Fly did really well at competition this year: the team won first place for both the written design report and the oral presentation portions of the competition! Because we only had one successful round, we didn't have a very high flight score, so we finished in 13th place overall. Congrats to all team members and a huge thank you to everyone who helped with the M-5!