Some of you loyal followers may have noticed our complete lack of activity for the 2014-2015 Season. My only excuse is that we were all too afraid to follow the mastery of our former blog runner after he graduated (and might have had issue finding the blog’s permissions). Anyway, here’s what you missed on Columbia AIAA:
The 2014-2015 challenge was to construct a plane capable of carrying a 4″ x 5″ x 10″ block which weighed 5 lbs, and also capable of carrying wiffleballs, which were to be dropped off of the plane in a given zone, one per lap (this action, obviously, bears no resemblance to dropping bombs).
After a lot of consideration, we decided to design our plane to only carry one wiffleball, both because it would make flying the third mission easier (only one lap!) and because how quickly we could load and unload the block and wiffleballs was a multiplier on the rest of our score.
Also in an attempt to reduce our loading time, we decided to have a removable nose cone. That prevented our usual single motor design, so we had dual motors on the plane instead.
After some testing and crashing in which we learned, among other things, that certain members of our team should not be allowed to video flight attempts, our plane was declared ready for competition. We shipped it out and flew to Tuscon, Arizona to compete.
At competition in Tuscon, we had some issues, centrally the continued desire of our landing gear to part with the rest of the plane. After a lot of rapid repair and four flight attempts, we made it through the first mission! Despite never getting through the second (to fix our landing gear problem, we made the plane too heavy to take off in the required distance), we had a loading time of 16 seconds, which gave us a good enough multiplier to take 37th out of the 81 teams. Success!