Manipal, April 2019.

AeroMIT, the aeromodelling team from MAHE, Manipal finished fifth overall in the SAE Aero Design East 2019 competition held in Fort Worth, Texas, USA last month. The team from MIT also emerged as the best performing Indian team at the competition. 

Other Indian teams like Vellore Institute of Technology, DJS College of Engineering, and Sahyadri College of Engineering & Management also took part.Ningxia University from China finished first, Georgia Institute of Technology second and Wroclaw University of Technology third.

The 14-member MIT team comprised: Shakti Habib, Aaron Sequeira, Ullas Bhat, Kiran Dsouza, AshwinVarkey, KaustubhBhujbal, AmeyaShahane, Eshan Vaidya, JaskritBakshi, Sovit Agarwal, Aditi Kamath, Pranav Karthik, Arnav Dev, and Hardik Joshi.

“Our preparation had begun months before the competition and we faced many challenges right from the start. Carrying the most payload possible while making the plane aerodynamically efficient, was one of the biggest challenges we faced. Another hurdle was procuring good quality materials for the plane. Since many building materials and electronics that we required were only available abroad, obtaining them was quite difficult,” said team leader Shakti Habib.

AeroMIT took part in the micro classcategory which expects teams to build a highly modular and portable aircraft while making trades between two potentially conflicting requirements; carrying the highest payload fraction possible, while pursuing the lowest aircraft empty weight possible.

The competition consisted of three different rounds – Design Report, Technical Presentation and Flight Rounds. The Design Report phase required the teams to write a report explaining the team’s thought processes and engineering philosophy while designing the plane. The report had to be quite exhaustive including every single detail of the plane and the reason behind its incorporation.

 “The designing of the plane was quite challenging and time consuming due to the different constraints that had to be followed. The plane also needed to be modular and had to be fit into a small box when disassembled,” Shakti said. The Technical Presentation Round required the teams to give an oral presentation on the entire process of the making of the plane while presenting the plane as a product and marketing it.

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