It seems that winning the Northrop Grumman Best in Show award at this year’s Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase was just the start of the attention on the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering’s Variable Aspect Ratio Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
Since that April victory, the sleek, carbon fiber aircraft with the wings that can expand in length has been at the heart of important research and outreach, both of which highlight the strengths of Florida Tech, according to the students and faculty members who are involved in the project.
“We designed the project over the last two years and have now decided to take it further,” said Razvan Rusovici, an associate professor of aerospace and biomedical engineering and adviser to the UAV project.
Ryan Haughey, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering who was among the nearly two dozen students who worked on the UAV prior to the design showcase, has been traveling near and far with it this year, offering presentations at Kennedy Space Center, in Oshkosh, Wis., and Anchorage, Alaska, and at the recently held TechXpo in Melbourne.
In the Alaska conference of people involved in unmanned aerial systems, Haughey said he got positive feedback from his presentation. “Many of the companies and researchers were impressed that students at an undergraduate level were doing this type of work.”
Meanwhile, Haughey and fellow senior Isaac Spence have been working with Rusovici on ground vibration testing. And Rusovici and other faculty at Florida Tech are continuing to expand the university’s focus on unmanned aerial vehicles.
“One goal is to establish Florida Tech as a center for UAV research,” Rusovici said.