No White Smoke From Ft. Worth

OK, the strategy worked.

Not because of anything in particular that the Miners did, mostly just high winds and bad luck for the other advanced class (complex aircraft) teams.

Here’s a summation of a report that team leader Jason Brown called in late last night during the long drive back from Ft. Worth:

“We coaxed a little more performance from our original engine, but not quite enough. The plane did take off today and circled twice over the prescribed drop zone, but didn’t have enough power to clear the trees the second time.” Not good.

Every other team either had difficulty getting airborne, dropping the “humanitarian package,” or simply crashed somewhere in the vicinity. No undamaged aircraft, no successful flights, so no flight points. By any of the more sophisticated planes.

So, according to the scoring matrix Missouri S&T held on to the top spot and was ready to accept the trophy. Trouble was (and we get this second-hand), the judges had never had a competition where no team earned flight points, so they held a conclave with the Society of Automotive Engineers and said (paraphrasing here) “uh, we’ll get back to you on a week or so.”

The S&T plane? Largely recovered, but we understand there’s a chunk of Miner wing stuck high in a tree at Thunderbird Field.

Best crash award? Not sure, but there were several outstanding contenders.

Best activity related to a crash? Students sprinting full-bore down the runway in pursuit of colorful windblown shreds of balsa, mono-cote and carbon-fiber.