Aero Design team poised for bright future

May 3, 2013

Kettering University Aero team finishes 11th in design at competition in California.

The Kettering University Aero Design team during competition in California.

The Kettering University Aero Design team competed in the SAE Aero Design West competition in April with a new twist.

In year’s past, the team has competed in the Regular Class. This year in the competition, which took place in Van Nuys, Calif., the team competed in the Micro Class.


“In the Micro Class, you are given a box and you have to design a plane to fit into that box that will carry the highest payload fraction of the aircraft’s weight,” said Elizabeth McLean, a senior Mechanical Engineering major and the team leader for the Aero Design team. “In the past, we’ve competed in Regular Class, which instead limits overall size and materials that can be used.”

The team, participating in the competition for the fourth time, finished 11th out of 28 teams for its design report. The team finished 12th in presentation and 21st in flight score.

“With this being our first year in Micro Class, we learned a lot of useful information about how the class actually works, design ideas for next year and seeing what did and did not work for this year’s team,” McLean said.

Team members who attended the competition were McLean, John Oliver, Rochelle Radawiec and Isaac Parker. Other team members who could not make the trip are Michael Schreiber, Kevin Bey and Hunter Casbeer.

“Most of our team members are new students to Kettering and are the future of the team,” McLean said. “It was a great experience for them to see the competition and begin to get ideas on how to improve the team in the future.”

Dr. Greg Davis, Mechanical Engineering professor, is the team’s advisor and accompanied them on the trip to California.

“I am very proud of the Aero Design team,” Davis said. “They are a young team and represented Kettering well, placing very high in the engineering design report and presentation categories. They also had an opportunity to see the plane that they designed and built fly! The lessons they learn in competitions like this enhance what they learn in the classroom experience.”

McLean said that the support from several university stakeholders and groups is key for the team.

“We’d like to thank the Kettering Mechanical Engineering Department, Dr. Greg Davis, Dr. Craig Hoff, Denso, GM Foundation, Kettering Motorsports, the Tarlau family and all of our other supporters,” McLean said.

Contact: Patrick Hayes
(810) 762-9538