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Ohio Northern University competes at SAE Aero Design East Competition

Apr 30, 2014

The Ohio Northern University student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) placed 16th at the SAE Aero Design East Competition in Cummings, Ga., from April 11-14. Forty-two teams participated in the weekend competition, including national championship teams from Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and Poland.

The ONU airplane, dubbed “Northern Comfort,” 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.

Prior to the competition, each group submitted a written design report, which was judged by a team of evaluators for technical accuracy and correctness. On Friday of competition weekend, the teams delivered oral presentations to a panel of judges, including a demonstration of how quickly the payload could be loaded/unloaded from the airplane. Loading/unloading had to be accomplished within one minute, and Eric Holodnak, a senior mechanical engineering major from Jefferson, Ohio, demonstrated the unique system designed and built by the ONU team to accomplish this goal.

Following the presentation, the plane had to undergo “tech inspection” to ensure that it adhered to the design specified in the report as well as the rules set forth for the competition. It also was inspected for all safety aspects so as to be deemed flightworthy. The flight rounds were next, and, over the course of Saturday and Sunday, five flight rounds were held.

The ONU team participated in the “Regular Class,” which had flight rules different from the “Micro Class” and the “Unlimited Class.” The “Regular Class” teams had to take off from the runway within 200 feet of start of roll, complete at least one full lap of the airfield, and then land on the runway and be under complete control within 400 feet of touchdown. In round four of the competition, Northern Comfort suffered a major crash that broke the fuselage in half just aft of the wing. The ONU team quickly set upon the task of rebuilding the aircraft and had it ready for a successful flight in round five.

The team consisted of Logan Kingen, a senior mechanical engineering major from Pandora, Ohio; Adam Black, a senior mechanical engineering major from Denver, Colo.; Sean Nuzum, a senior mechanical engineering major from Urbana, Ohio; Rebekah Douglass, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Ashland, Ohio; Andy Starr, a junior mechanical engineering major from Clayton, Ohio; Ryan Cooperrider, a junior mechanical engineering major from Norwalk, Ohio; Luke Harmon, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Conover, Ohio; Jordan Reeves a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Belle Center, Ohio; and Holodnak. The advisor for the group was Dr. Jed E. Marquart, professor of mechanical engineering.

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