Podium Finishes for Two SMAE Teams at the 2019 IMechE UAS Challenge.
Congratulations to the two Teams from the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (SMAE) who achieved our highest ever finishes at the IMechE Unmanned Air System (UAS) Challenge at the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre 15th - 18th June 2019. Team Hibernica Liberandum (Irish rescue) finished second and team Flytanic finished third in the competition for the overall prize. Team Flytanic were also awarded two commendations by the IMechE judges. The first was from the Scrutineering team recognising the build quality of their aircraft and the second ackowledged the novelty of the tailor made transport and deployment container which was developed for their aircraft. This was a fantastic achievement for our third year Aerospace Engineers and was the culmination of a period of sustained effort which started in October of 2018.
The challenge engages University undergraduate and taught postgraduate teams in the design, construction, development and demonstration of an Autonomous UAS. With a Maximum Take-off Mass (MTOM) of 6.9 kg, and operating within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS), the Unmanned Aircraft (UA) is designed to undertake a representative humanitarian aid mission delivering water and / or a medical kit. The system has to operate automatically (including take off and landing), performing a series of tasks including area search, navigating waypoints, accurately dropping Aid Packages and returning to base via a defined route. The teams from Queens do all of this as part of their Stage 3 Aircraft Design module where they manage all aspects of the process from conceptual design through to manufacture and system operation. As they are academically assessed as part of the process, all aircraft must be original with new designs created from scratch each year.
This year our teams were:
Team Hibernica Liberandum: Matthew McClune (Team Lead), Daniel Quigg, Andrew Wilson, Marc Thompson, Aaron Bolas, Jacob Robinson & Royce Balmer.
Team Flytanic: Ryan Flavelle (Team Lead), John Norton, Geoffrey Corcoran, Dominik Bosowski, Daniel Hawkins, Shona McMahon, Gregory O'Sullivan, Aaron McMaster & Callum Anderson.
QUB Pilot: Ross McConnell
In addition to congratulating the team we would like to thank a number of people at SMAE who supported our efforts this year. These include: Tara Nugent for looking after material orders (patiently), Raymond Finney and Richard Gault for scheduling and making our parts (expertly / quickly), Wesley McKeown and the team from our main workshop for machining our metallic components (expertly/quickly), our dedicated team of SMAE technicians Johnny, Dan, Brian and Troy.
Our flight tests would not have been possible without the support of our local model flying clubs. In particular, we would like to thank David Ardis from the Seven Towers Aeromodelling Club for scrutineering and piloting our aircraft as well as hosting our flight days at their site at Broughshane. Thanks to Maurice Doyle, Leslie Ward, George Elliot and Ken Smeltzer who have been advising our project groups now for a number of years. At different times our teams have also been hosted by the Ulster Model Flying Club and the Causeway Coast Model Flying Club thanks to them also.
Finally, thanks to Kristina and the IMechE team for another fantastic Challenge and to our assigned team mentors at Bombardier for their input along the way!