Let The Games Begin!

BAjaDSC_5953.jpgThis weekend marks the season-opening events for four, count ’em, four S&T student design teams.
S&T’s Steel Bridge (see previous post) and Concrete Canoe teams arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska this evening for the Mid-Continent ASCE Student Conference. Tomorrow morning the bridge builders are first out of the gate with an initial set up for aesthetics judging. The rest of the day is spent watching other teams race the clock, while waiting in line for your turn in the breach. As each school finishes building they get to weigh their project, then move to the “hold-you-breath-while-2,500+ lbs-of-steel-are-slowly-stacked- on-an-entire-year’s-worth-of blood-sweat-and-tears” station.
If the bridge deflects, turns, twists too much, or simply folds up (it happens), that school’s project is disqualified and drops to the bottom of the rankings. Most teams do, as a matter of fact, for this is a tough challenge.
Canoe? They do their presentations tomorrow afternoon, fAAVG1DSC_5873.jpgollowed by aesthetics judging and Friday morning’s swamp test and technical paper judging.
And then the silly season starts…………..Friday is also the ASCE version of St. Pat’s Gonzo games, except there’s no beer. Concrete Bowling, Geo-Tech Challenge, and other less technical stuff.
Saturday is when Concrete Canoes shine. Think a cross between Red Bull’s Flugtag and Hawaiian warriors paddling massive boats through the Pacific surf. The perfect combination of brains, brawn, and high comedy.
Meanwhile the Advanced Aero rocket team is heading to Huntsville, Alabama for the NASA Student Launch Initiative. Farther south in Opelika (that CAN’T be an old Indian name!) S&T’s Baja SAE team will be running the best-looking car (top right) they’ve EVER produced in a grueling 3-day test of survivability. AAVG2DSC_5920.jpg
Back home? The AAVG Airplane squad test flew their heavy-lift aircraft yesterday.This beauty (sans cargo) jumped in to the sky as if it were a Harrier jet, cruised very serenely, then returned to earth somewhat, uh, sooner than planned.
But that’s why they test.
The rest of this week and next?
Fix the plane.