Engineering Students Twice Victorious at International Rotorcraft Design Competition

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This year’s graduate rotorcraft design team (from left to right: Dr. Inderjit Chopra, Abhishek Shastry, Ravi Lumba, Amy Morin, Seyhan Gul, Mrinalgouda Patil, Shashank Maurya, Nishant Nemani, and Dr. Vengalattore Nagaraj)

Undergraduate and graduate student teams from the A. James Clark School of Engineering took top honors in an international competition sponsored by Airbus to design a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

Academic teams from around the world submitted entries in this year’s Student Design Competition sponsored by the Vertical Flight Society, with a total of 18 proposals from six different countries. The top-winning entries are available on the design competition website, along with past winners.

The 2018–19 theme was “Extreme Altitude Mountain Rescue Vehicle,” which challenged students to design a rotorcraft to perform emergency medical services up to the highest altitudes in the world.

“Each member of the team worked day and night for months to design this extreme altitude helicopter that can save lives from [the] world's highest peaks,” said Seyhan Gul, graduate team leader.

Maryland’s graduate team won first place, plus an award for best weight optimization, as did its undergraduate team, working with Universidad de Carlos III in Madrid, Spain.

“I was impressed that all of the undergraduate students stayed on campus until June 1 to finalize their ‘Tahr’ helicopter design report,” said Jim Baeder, professor of aerospace engineering and undergraduate faculty adviser for the UMD team.

This year’s undergraduate rotorcraft design team (from left to right: Dr. James Baeder, Kamil Pilaszewicz, Ben Dobson, Ryan Pillai, Hafeez Hadi, Paulo Arias, JT Lewis, Celia Escudero Nick Zhu, and Dr. VT Nagaraj)

Published August 26, 2019