Aero-designers battle it out on the global stage

Sreetej Lakkam along with his team members is gearing up to face the challenge. Photo: V. Raju

Sreetej Lakkam along with his team members is gearing up to face the challenge. Photo: V. Raju   | Photo Credit: RAJU_V

Sreetej Lakkam from the city, is part of a 10-member team of students from University of Petroleum & Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun, gearing up to take part in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aero Design Competition 2012, slated for March at Los Angeles in the United States of America.

Christened as ‘The Skyhawks', the team is eager to prove its prowess on a global platform that attracts participation of students from across the world. A three-day event is scheduled to take place at Valley Flyers Field, Lake Balboa, Los Angeles, California, USA on March 16, 17 and 18.

“One of us saw the invite while browsing the internet and since it was all about aircraft design, we thought of giving it a shot,” Sreetej, a student of aerospace engineering (4th year), told The Hindu on Friday.

Of the three categories –Regular, Advanced and Micro – The Skyhawks chose to represent themselves in the regular category which is all about designing a remote-controlled aircraft that can lift as much weight as possible; while observing available power and the length, width and height requirements. This incorporates basic knowledge required to design and fabricate a model aircraft.

“Accurate prediction of lifting capacity of the aircraft is a big challenge. We need to adhere to the norm that restricts the aircraft weight (including payload) to less than 25 kg,” he says.

Sreetej, along with five other friends, had participated in the event last year as well. Their team secured 3rd rank in Asia and overall 12th among 54 teams that came from across the world. The team's design was acknowledged as the best from Asia and ranked 11th internationally.

“Lack of adequate support is a major drawback. Last year, we saw the local teams (teams from the US) coming to the venue with aircraft spare parts carted in trolleys to meet any emergency situation and we walked in with our small bags,” he says.

The advantage this time is that the boys won't repeat the mistakes they committed last year. Equipped with a sense of familiarity with the place and the people they would be dealing with at the competition venue, the ‘Skyhawks' have their fingers crossed.

Sreetej's team-mates include Sagar N. Shah, Pranav Nagpal, Udit B. Shah, Mayur Chakravarti, Adithya Kothandhapani, Vinayak Vadlamani, Chava YPDP Rajanish, Dipak Kumar Joshi and Shivam Sharma.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 8:54:05 AM |

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