Clark School Freshmen Compete in Hovercraft Competition

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On May 9, the sounds of whirring fans, sighs of defeat and cheers of victory echoed through the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building as students competed head to head at the biannual Clark School of Engineering Student Hovercraft Competition – also known as the ENES100 final exam.

As part of ENES100, “Introduction to Engineering Design,” 41 teams of freshmen engineering students spent the semester creating hand-built autonomous hovercrafts that, through use of light and distance sensors, can follow a track, make turns and pick up a payload placed on a pedestal. From bright red “wings” and chopsticks to bicycle inner tubes and K’Nex construction toys, no two hovercrafts look alike.

ENES100 is taught by Keystone Program faculty members and focuses on team-centered, hands-on projects to introduce students to the field of engineering. The hovercraft competition is a culmination of the course, and faculty members, undergraduate teaching fellows and curious students often watch from the sidelines to offer support and the occasional design tip for hovercraft improvement. The course is organized by Keystone Instructor Kevin Calabro.

To win the competition, the hovercrafts must enter the arena, make contact with the pedestal, acquire the payload and then release it. Each attempt is timed.

Out of 41 teams, only 15 qualified to compete and after 8 hours of testing, fine-tuning and testing again, the following teams came out on top:

First Place: Y0

Advisor: Dr. Peter Sunderland

Students: Jamshed Arif, Alexander Bratchie, Erik Estrada, David Foster, Abigail Henningsgaard, Matthew Le, Raj Patel, Antonio Thompson, Stamatia Vafeas and Bryce Weisberger


Second Place: High Five

Advisor: Dr. Romel Gomez

Students: Ryan Duffy, Evan Eisenberg, Larrysa McAllister, Bayan Naber, Brandon Nguyen, Chima Okpa, Jamel Pinder, Samuel Song and Samuel Van Horn


Third Place: Levigreat

Advisor: Mr. Evandro Valente

Students: Luis Bernardo, Matthew Doelp, Olivia Farrell, Mark Jackson, Ryan O’Donnell, Matthew Spalding, Alexander Valin, Armani Vaughn, Cole Vogelberger, Aimee Castillo, Kaveh Emdad and Kyle Winjum


Fourth Place: DiscHover

Advisor: Mr. Stephen Kamakaris

Students: Marlin Ballard, Jason Barton, Max Cassell, Jack Draper, Danielle Harrison, Kimberly Kern, Troy Smith, Zachary Stryjewski and Christopher Wong.


Fifth Place: French Toast Mafia

Advisor: Dr. George Syrmos

Students: Alex Alberg, Keely Barrett, Matt Greene, Matthew Kabernagel, Shane Kelly, Valery Leng, Carson Muir, Kyle Ockenfels and Erin Patterson

An award for design innovation was given to Team Fan-Tastic and the award for craftsmanship was won by Team French Toast Mafia.

View more photos from the competition here:  

Published May 14, 2013