Breaking In A New Airfield

Solar Car wasn’t the only Missouri S&T design team to sneak in under the clouds that preceded yesterday’s arctic blast. Hours after the huge ST Pat’s parade, defending SAE Aero West champion Advanced Aero Vehicle Group took their 2014 design to the newly-established Vichy Modeler’s Club aerodrome, just down the hill from Rolla National Airport. In years past the R/C club used an abandoned runway at the historic WWII training field, now home to a growing industrial park. This was the Miners’ first use of the new flight facility, and just as when the Design Center moved to the new Kummer Student Design Center there were plenty of new safety guidelines to observe.

AAVGDogSUN_64161 Spinning rotors and propellers can quickly tear up tissue so, just as in industry, extreme caution is the norm. The airplane builders were happy to find a neatly-mowed field with parking just steps away, perfect for efficient operations. They didn’t expect a grouchy “field marshal/meteorologist” who watched both flight line and tarmac as if he owned the place; adamant that things were to go smoothly. He left his mark everywhere, kept his nose to the ground during pre-flight, and sniffed wind direction and speed before barking “Launch Aircraft!”
weathercheckSUN_6529xDogtakeoffSUN_6566The dead winter grass was a little worrisome since the plane is designed with asphalt in mind. Any design or build problems would have to be corrected in the two weeks remaining before the annual design/fly competition. Most first-flight tests have revealed design, manufacturing or control issues that kept the planes from flying as predicted, but the plane flew beautifully! Just one minor glitch when testing the package-drop mechanism, but that is an easy fix.
FlightSUN_6486 21
Two flights, two laps each, and very stable; good results after a year of hard work. Back to the shop to add the S&T logo and a few sponsor logos, and it’s on to Ft. Worth, Texas!


  1. Michelle Wiginton says

    How awesome…love this project! I spent my early years at the Rolla Airport with my dad, who was a pilot. Good luck to all of the students and advisors at Fort Worth!