Engineering Idol

A panel of Lockheed Martin judges. A stage. And you. Now please explain in 10 minutes the intricacies of your design and answer pointed questions about your design approach. That’s your introduction to SAE Aero East Design. And how it will be in the uh, adult word.
Once out of that sweatbox it’s back to the chaos of tech inspection. A cadre of senior aerospace industry veterans pokes, prods, measures and tests everything on your aircraft except starting the engines.
Check lists, questions, payload tests, package drop mechanism operation, flaps, rudder, all of it, while the same scenario is played out all across the convention hall for teams from Poland, Egypt, China, Canada, India, the U.S. and Brazil.
Some teams arrive ready while others have a little work to do. No matter, these are one-off experimental devices that seldom work as expected.

The aircraft range in appearance from works of industrial art to a determined attempt to prove that yes, pigs CAN fly.A rookie team showed off their, uh, their rather robust airframe that looked
DSC_3621 (1) like it was built overnight in an Ace Hardware store; no small coincidence that one of their members actually worked in one of those “helpful hardware places.” One micro-class entry even had transparent inflatable wings, the inspiration for which may have come from a child’s “floaties.”

No matter. This is a design competition, not a beauty contest. Few people remember what these birds look like, but no one forgets how your design impacts the ground.

One wag was overheard to say “it’s not a question of if your plane will crash, just a question of when.”

Flight ops start early tomorrow, weather permitting, and that’s when the “when” comes into play.