The joanneum Aeronautics Design/Build/Fly Team reached the 16th rank in the 22nd Design/Build/Fly competition and is the second best Non-US team. The contest took place between 19-22 April in Wichita, Kansas. All in all, 91 teams managed to qualify for the fly-off and competed against each other in three flight mission with their self-designed and self-built remotely controlled aircraft.
The team was represented by 8 students, which arrived a few days before the start of the competition in Wichita. These days were used to prepare for the contest and to receive the separately shipped aircraft, assembling and testing.
Arrival in Wichita
Tech Inspection and Fly-off Day 1
On the 19 April the team arrived well prepared at the Cessna Airfield. The goal was to pass the mandatory Tech Inspection. While waiting on their turn, the joanneum Aeronautics Team used the time to meet with teams from other universities and to talk about the various interesting aircraft. After two hours of waiting, it was finally their turn. The team presented their aircraft, named Humble B, at the Tech inspection. A close look was taken by the judges. They inspected if the aircraft is in accordance with the rules, took some measures for scoring, requested a fail-safe check and a full-power test. Humble B passed the inspection and was allowed to participate in the flight missions.
The next day in the morning, the competition continued, and the team started as number fifteen. Flight mission 1 had to be flown on the designated course without any payload. Humble B completed the mission successfully without any damages, despite of strong winds. Following the first flight mission a mandatory ground mission had to be passed before being allowed to fly mission 2 and mission 3. In the ground mission, the interchangeability of parts, for example change of the motor or the landing gear in a certain time limit, had to be demonstrated. The team was well prepared, passed, and got outstanding feedback from the judges for the aircraft design.
In the afternoon, the winds got even stronger and many teams had to cancel their flights. As a result, the start sequence made fast progress and the joanneum Aeronautics Team got the opportunity to fly flight mission 2. The task was to transport passengers in form of bouncy balls on a designated course for three laps. The wind conditions were crosswind averaging 30 km/h with gusts up to 47 km/h. Humble B was never flown under such conditions and the team was quite tensed, however, it succeeded! Only two teams managed to finish mission 2 on this day. One of them were the joanneum Aeronautics!
Fly-off Day 2
Fly-off Day 3
The goal for Saturday, was to complete flight mission 3, though the flight-line stayed closed for several hours due to heavy rain and wind. Around midday the weather got better, and the organizers of the competition decided to open the flight-line. All teams were lining up eagerly and willing to fly. In the afternoon it was Humble B’s turn, but the weather got worse. It started to rain heavily again, and the wind gained strength. Nevertheless, the team tried to take-off. Unfortunately, the aircraft could not take-off in the prescribed runway length and the attempt was not counted by the judges. Soon after the failed mission 3 attempt, the organizers decided to close the flight-line and all further activities for this day.
The last day of the competition and one start attempt left. The joanneum Aeronautics team prepared once more for flight mission 3. The task was to carry passengers and payload. In the morning hours, there was no wind, but it gained strength quickly. The average wind speed was 34 km/h with gusts up to 40 km/h. This time however, it was no crosswind. Humble B succeeded and the whole audience was cheering! The team achieved to to finish all missions and reached rank 16!