Fourth year Aeronautical Engineering students of the University of Limerick have conducted flight tests of models aircraft, which were designed to simulate a “medical-evacuation” mission. Two teams of students designed and constructed remotely-controlled subscale aircraft, to meet defined specifications. The design goals included being able to taxi over very rough fields, take-off and land in less than 12 metres and carry a 1.4 kg payload (wooden blocks that simulate patients and medical attendants). R/C (radio-controlled) pilot William Gaule (Limerick) took the aeroplanes through the ground and flight test programme, with both aircraft completing key tasks.
Aeronautical Engineering student and Leader of Green Team, Anthony O’Carroll (Ballyduff, Co. Kerry) said ‘The DBF (Design-Build-Fly) is an excellent project. Blood, sweat and tears have gone into this model and it gives me and my team great pleasure to see it in the air. The manufacturing aspect of this project was very enjoyable. We used a lot of carbon fibre in our design and it was an experience to work with new materials. I’m delighted with the way the ‘Boing A3-Weighty’ turned out; fair play to the lads on the team for the effort they put in over the last 8 months.’
White Team Leader, Colin Delaney (Cork) said “Aircraft design is in many ways the ultimate team based activity. Here for us just as in industry, an aircraft cannot be designed and built by just one person, it’s a collective effort. Seeing our aircraft go from the conceptual design phase right through to the first flight gives one an immense sense of achievement and satisfaction and I have nothing but pride in the team for what has been eight months of hard work and I’d like to thank each of them for a fine job!”
Dr Trevor Young, Senior Lecturer in Aeronautical Engineering, UL said “This challenge requires our students to design, build and fly complex air vehicles designed to a demanding set of requirements. The students need to use the knowledge and engineering skills acquired over the entire engineering programme to create an aircraft that is strong enough to support the loads, yet light enough to fly with small electric motors. Good teamwork and good project management are essential ingredients for success. These attributes are highly valued in industry, but are often ignored in engineering courses.”
UL offers the only Bachelor of Engineering in Aeronautical Engineering programme in the Republic of Ireland, and has developed strong links with many of the world’s leading aerospace companies, including Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier Aerospace.