While most students were enjoying spring break, the five members of Union’s SAE Aero Team (the Flying Dutchmen) were cramming to get their plane ready for the Society of Automotive Engineers competition April 12 to 14 in Van Nuys, Calif.
The plane, with a wing span of 10 feet, is remote-controlled and must lift and carry a payload over a prescribed course. Of the 75 entries, Union placed fifth in 2011 and 13th last year. Each member of the team has a specific task – engine, structure, landing gear, controls, testing. A team leader integrates all the parts, and together they troubleshoot what comes along. What makes the experience most valuable, according to their advisor, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Brad Bruno, is the opportunity to work on a real-world engineering team.
“It’s a great experience for the students, and great exposure for our program and the College,” he said. Members of the team are seniors Bessena Cabe, Charles Bouchard, Jeff Ehrlich, Jason Hargreaves and Joshua Rathgeb.