Three Weeks Out

by Dominic Zanti | March 24, 2023

18 days. At the time of this writing, Miner Aviation is 18 days away from driving to Tucson, AZ, and flying our plane at AIAA’s 27th annual Design / Build / Fly competition. From finishing and flying two new aircraft, one being our final, to submitting the design report detailing our approach to this year’s mission, the past three months have been busy. As we head into our spring break at Missouri S&T, now is a good time to reflect on what Miner Aviation has accomplished, as well as what’s coming up.

Final Iteration

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As I mentioned in December’s blog post, our goal was to construct two more aircraft after our first initial design. Through the hard work of the members of this team, we have designed, built, and flown two more unique planes since our first one. Taking the successful aspects of the first two designs, pilot input, and fixing the parts that didn’t work, this iterative approach helped us nail down a final design we would be using at competition. As this aircraft sits in our bay ready to be flown this weekend, I can say with confidence that this strategy worked. We were able to get quantifiable results from each flight test that influenced our decision making and help us sculpt the best possible configuration. Now, we cautiously look to the upcoming weeks, as we plan to test this aircraft and mimic the route we will fly in Tucson.

Design Report

With the final design selected, we turned our focus to the design report: a 60 page document detailing every step we took to reach this aircraft configuration. Dozens of hours of work (and an all-nighter) was poured into this document through writing, proofreading, and collecting images. I’m extremely grateful for all the input we received from members, leads, and our advisors to make this the best report we could. We eagerly await the moment we walk into competition and see how we placed.

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Upcoming Events

To see a good look at our final aircraft, Vici, stay tuned for a reveal on our social media during the first week of April. We’ll be posting high quality photos of the plane and the members instrumental to its design. In addition to this reveal, we are currently in the midst of our annual crowdfunding campaign! At the time of this writing, we are 73%  towards our goal. More information can be found on the page, but we are grateful for every donation that comes in as it directly impacts our ability to attend competition and do what we do. With that, all that is left now is to bring our plane to Tucson and watch our hard work soar.