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Student aerospace engineers land on top in competition

5/2/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of The University of Akron
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The bright yellow “Thrust Master,” a lightweight, high-payload-carrying remote-control plane designed by The University of Akron (UA) aerospace engineering students, placed second best overall out of 37 teams that competed in the Society of Automotive Engineers Aero Design competitions in Van Nuys, Calif., April 12-14.

According to UA officials, the team faced an unanticipated challenge and a chance to demonstrate its industriousness during the competition when — after the plane’s second flight — it struck a gopher hole off of the runway, causing severe damage and destroying the entire nose section and half of the fuselage.

“The team spent all day and night repairing the damage. This was truly a Herculean effort,” said team co-captain Ian Maatz, noting the team repaired more than a month’s worth of work in less than a day.

The team also competed in the micro-class competition, where it placed 22nd out of 29. The team’s 7-ounce “Roo Shooter,” controlled solely by its tail, was unable to fly in the contest due to technical issues.

Thrust Master was judged on reliability, weight and payload, technical report and presentation.

Members of UA’s Aero Design Team are pictured at top: standing, from left, Mark Lazor (pilot/adviser), Ryan Bieder, Jeremy Hein, Brandon Hein, Evan Henrich, Janelle Archer, Sergey Vorontsov, Elizabeth Hammell, Nataniel Noussias and Michael Hearne. In the front row, from left, are Eric Bohanan, Devin Cross, Maatz, Josh Wilson and Stanley Kaguima.

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