Preparing for Takeoff

With just under a month until competition, Miner Aviation has a successful test flight under our wing! In fact, the team has been so busy getting flying experience under our belt that I’ve lost track of how many test flights we’ve completed! This of course is great news for us as we assess our readiness for competition.

Our pilot, Will Hopkins, team president Annika Highley, and Design and Manufacturing lead Evan Guyett look on as the plane takes off for the first time.

Our prototype aircraft performed beautifully in preliminary testing and has exceeded expectations. In order to save our limited budget and considering the timeline, the team has decided to make a few small adjustments to the prototype rather than build another aircraft specifically for competition. This decision takes a lot of stress off of our design and manufacturing sub-team and gives us more time to optimize the plane and ensure its best performance in Tucson.

And now… Miner Aviation would like to introduce you to The Dragonfly:

The Dragonfly has been able to consistently take off under the 10 foot requirement at our maximum weight. Our fully loaded configuration consists of taking off with 6 attack stores at a weight of about 8.7 lbs! We’ve also completed successful flight testing with the radome attached to the aircraft – another competition requirement.

In the next two weeks, we will be completing even more test flights where we’ll drop the attack stores and have the radome rotate in-flight. We’ll also be going through ground mission testing, where the biggest challenge will be to automatically unfold the wings and have them lock in place for flight. After final testing, the last step will be to ship the plane and all of our supplies to Tucson, where we’ll meet them on April 10.

Vice President and Aerodynamics/Stability and Control lead Thomas Ziervogel shovels snow to clear a runway for a test flight.

Our team has been working so hard this year and its been a blessing to have so many members continue to stay dedicated to the challenge that has been put up for us by the AIAA Design Build Fly competition. We’re all very excited that everything is coming together so well and we’ve had time to do extensive flight testing. We can’t wait to show off Missouri S&T and the value of the education provided there.

Our crowdfunding campaign launched on Friday, and we rely heavily on that funding to get us to competition where we can succeed. The donations we receive from our crowdfunding campaign helps cover the cost of sending our members to Tucson. The experience they get by participating in competition is unlike anything else they will see in college and is a testament to the significance of experiential learning. The money we get from crowdfunding also ensures that our team is able to hit the ground running for the next competition season. Please consider donating to our campaign at the link provided, we would be nowhere without our sponsors, friends, family, and alumni.

If you haven’t seen footage from our test flights, please visit our social media sites where we’ll also be posting more updates as get to competition. Thank you for your continued support!

Miner Aviation Crowdfunding: