Four of Union’s engineering competition teams brought their work to the Mayor’s Cup hockey game last Thursday against RPI at the Times Union Center in Albany. The Mechanical Engineering Department’s teams compete in a number of different competitions annually, namely the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Aero and Baja competitions.
The Aero team will be attending the SAE Aero East competition April 21-23 in Lakeland, Florida. This will be their second year of competing in the competition’s advanced class, after a team of seniors last year received the fourth-highest flight score at the compeition in Van Nuys, California.
Asked about goals for this year’s competition, Aero team member Kathleen Matthews ’17 said, “We are hoping to remain competitive and stay in the top five teams.”
Part of their purpose in taking their plane to the Mayor’s Cup is to show off the success of the team to alumni and community members at the game. This included Union President Stephen C. Ainlay, who stopped by to express his support.
The team has a strong connection with its alumni, as the Mechanical Engineering Department has been sending teams to this same Aero competition since for over thirty years. “Our alumni are very supportive,” said Matthews, noting that this year the team has reached “an all-time high in alumni donations.”
Though the team has had some challenges this year, primarily with incorporating new composite materials into the plane, in contrast with the all-wood planes of previous years, they have already had their first successful flight. Past teams have attended competition with little or no flight experience, so they are happy with having their first stable flight more than three months before competition.
The team will continue to showcase its work to the campus community and hopes to continue to display its plane at Union events.
The Baja team, which designs a car for a similar SAE competition, also featured its car at the Mayor’s Cup. Both teams feature seniors, mostly in mechanical engineering, designing the plane or car as part of a senior project. Some team members are seniors in electrical or computer engineering.
In addition to the Aero and Baja teams, Union’s new Rocket Club was present, as was the Robohockey team that competes annually against RPI at the Mayor’s Cup. The Mechanical Engineering Department and the students hope to establish rocketry as a competing team like Aero, Baja and the Human Powered Vehicle team that was not in attendance.