My Favorite Student Involvement: AeroDesign Team

warren Viterbi Orgs 1 Comment

Hi There Everyone!

 

Hope you are having a great week! All is going swell here, with midterms (well, the first round at least) coming to pass, and a temporary calm prevailing. This semester, as I think I mentioned, I am taking 18 units, so it’s been a bit crazy and busy with class, and of course, some great extracurricular activities!

I am involved in several campus activities from USC AeroDesign Team, to the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching, to helping represent the Boeing Company as a Campus Ambassador. Truthfully, though I will say college is ultimately what you make of it- and trust me, your experience will be so much more fulfilling wherever you go to college if you experience a well rounded set of activities outside of the classroom. My first semester as a freshman, I didn’t heed my own advice- and it was a bit dull. The next semester, I made a decision to expand my intellectual horizons and interests- and from there, great memories, experiences, and opportunities have arisen.

 

But, enough about me let’s talk about my favorite organization on campus: the USC AeroDesign Team. Meet some of the members below- we’re giving you a fight on!

 

Fight On from all the USC AeroDesign Team in Whichita, KS. The plane in front is ours from competition. The background is a disaster the reason being that there was a tornado that came right through our hotel and the competition field the night before. Unfortunately, the second half of competition was cancelled as a result  and yes, that is a Ferris wheel that is toppled over in the background as a result! WHAT AN ADVENTURE!  

 

So, what is Aero Design team? We’re a group (recognized student organization on USCs campus) who design, build, and fly a plane every year to compete in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’s (AIAA) DBF Competition.    Each year, the competition alternates between Wichita, KS, where it was in 2012, and Tucson, AZ. Did I mention that we have consistently placed within the top  10 finishing teams out of around 80 entrants from around the world. Last year, we had dinner with folks from Dubai, UAE, Turkey, Slovenia, Canada, and UK all at the competition. It was so cool to meet engineers and people passionate about aviation from all around the world! ADT is especially important to me since it is so closely aligned with a big passion of mine: Aviation.

As a team, we get our mission requirements (e.g. what the plane has to be able to do) and limitations (e.g. restrictions on our design) from the AIAA who releases the mission rules around August of each year.

What kind of missions are we talking about? Well, last year- there were 3 missions they required us to.

1) Take off, and fly as many laps around an oval track as possible. e.g. A speed mission

2) Take off, carrying simulated passengers (e.g. .75” x .75” x 6.25” rectangular Aluminium Bars) restrained by no more than 10% of their surface area.

3) Take off within 100 feet carrying 2L of water, climb to 100m, and upon reaching that altitude, autonomously begin dropping the 2L of water. When the officials on the ground see that water plume, they stop their stopwatch, and from there calculate your ‘time to climb to 100m.’ The objective is to be the fastest.

Throughout the year, we spend a lot of time in our own Lab space (sorry, wish I could put a picture up-but don’t want to give away any of our competition killer secrets away as we work on them!)  As Operations Manager of the team, I am responsible for an array of duties- including working with other team captains to establish technical requirements for the building of our aircraft and ensuring that the lab is adequately stocked to meet those requirements. Additionally, anything related to money on the team goes through me as well as all corporate relations items.

 

We are presently moving from our conceptual design phase (August-October) to finalizing the first configuration of our aircraft. In two weeks, we will be presenting our findings to over 50 people from industry (e.g. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, SpaceX etc) who come on to campus to listen to what we have been up to! It’s no wonder that so many people from ADT go on to have excellent careers in professional industry, or graduate school – whichever they choose. I will say though, that there is a running  ‘joke’ in ADT that there is always a little USC ADT mofia up in the Seattle/Everett area working at yours truly: The Boeing Company. This year, I was up there with 3 other ADT members, one of whom worked on the other side of the building from me. This November, I’ll be travelling with 4 other folks from ADT to go to an Accelerated Hiring Initiative hosted by the Boeing Company up in Seattle.  So, what I guess I am trying to say is that ADT is not only a great place to hang with other Aerospace Engineers, a great place to put in to practice all of that theory that you’ve built up in the lecture halls, but a great place to refine those skills for the purpose of being even more well prepared to enter into the professional world!

We have great fun throughout the year at events like PDR, our dozen or so test-flights, and closer to competition, once we have more of the design configuration choices down- Critical Design Review (CDR). That’ll be held in February or so.

 

 

Stay tuned for additional details on this front as the year progresses. As always, feel free to drop us a line via the VSA webpage if you have any questions about ADT, engineering, or life in general!

 

Have a great week everyone, see ya soon.

 

 

 

 

Smooth landings and safe flights,

Warren

 

 

P.S. Heres’s a picture of last year’s plane, which scored 2nd out of more than 80 competitors from around the world.

 

 

Comments 1

  1. Such an honor! Honestly an achievement that would make everyone proud. I get the same feeling when I have been included in national competition with more like 20 schools entered. I mean even if its national and our school only rank 3rd and I haven’t got the chance to compete for international still the feeling is unexplainable.

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