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ONU team finishes 17th at SAE Design East Competition

The Ohio Northern University student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) placed 17th at the SAE Aero Design East Competition in Marietta, Ga., from April 29-May 1. Forty-seven teams participated in the weekend competition, including national championship teams from Brazil, Canada and Poland.

The ONU airplane, dubbed “The Black Swan II,” was designed and built entirely by students. The flight goal of the competition was to successfully lift and fly the maximum weight possible in the airplane while adhering to certain flight-mission requirements.

As part of the project, the students predicted the flight performance of the aircraft and presented both a written and oral technical report regarding its design and construction. After two highly successful flight rounds, in which the ONU team flew the plane unladen and then with 12 pounds of payload on board, the third round brought disaster when, with 20 pounds of payload on board, the Black Swan came in short of the runway on approach for landing and crashed beyond repair.

For this, the team captured the “Best Crash Award.”

The team consisted of Chris Slattery, a senior mechanical engineer major from Mount Pleasant, Pa.; Matt Smith, a senior mechanical engineer major from Norton, Ohio; Amy Murray, a senior electrical engineering major from Botkins, Ohio; Melissa Turner, a senior electrical engineer major from Coldwater, Ohio; Josh Stone, a senior computer engineering major from Burton, Ohio; Cody Esbenshade, a senior mechanical engineer major from Ashland, Ohio; Logan Kingen, a junior mechanical engineering major from Pandora, Ohio; Mike Abraham, a freshman civil engineering major from Olmstead Falls, Ohio; Ashley Batesole, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Medina, Ohio; and Andy Starr, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Clayton, Ohio. Dr. Jed Marquart, professor of mechanical engineering at ONU, served as the advisor.

The students are all members of the ONU chapter of the AIAA and have been working on a radio-controlled (R/C) model airplane since the start of the 2010-11 academic year.