AeroDesign Team 2012: The PoSCeidon Adventure
This year's competition
was interesting to say the least!
Most of team members experienced—and survived—their first Tornado!
The contest started as usual on a
Friday (April 13; oh-oh.) with moderate but flyable Wichita winds. The
successfully, with PoSCeidon completing 7 laps. (Only four teams
completed this many). On Saturday, the weather picked up.
Competition was suspended mid day as the winds began to gust and
swirl, and the team eventually retreated to their hotel to wait out
the storm in the hotel basement. The tornado touched down several
miles south of the hotel and steadily moved north. With the power and
lights cut off by the storm, the team didn't know much about the
tornado until the next morning. This is when they learned that the
tornado had passed within a 1/2 mile of the hotel!
The 2012 AeroDesign Team's airplane, PoSCeidon, in flight.
Sunday morning, the path and destruction of the storm were revealed.
The tornado came within 1/4 mile of the Cessna flying field and all
roads surrounding the competition site were closed due to downed power
lines, scattered debris and broken/uprooted trees. The attached image
shows the team in front of a capsized ferris wheel at a nearby
carnival grounds. Soon after, the team learned that the
had been canceled.
Canceling the competition left the Design/Build/Fly Committee with a
difficult task in declaring a winner since many teams had yet to fly
all missions. In the end, the judges decided to count the first two
missions (which only 12/68 teams completed). This was unfortunate for
us since we only completed mission 1 before the competition was
suspended; our final standing was 16th overall.
results are attached.
While tough to tell just from the photos, the team's plane
was well designed for the mission objectives and flew great! It was
poised to be a solid competitor at the contest. Their effort
throughout the year was diligent and consistent, including more than
10 test flight outings. They were impressive all year, including the
final test flight where they built two planes (one for final
propulsion sizing and, the competition aircraft for trimming before
heading to Wichita). The raw score for their written report (93.5)
was the 5th best in the competition, although the addition of clear
plastic front/back covers upon binding counted against the page limit
and yielded a 20 pt. deduction. Nevertheless, the team designed and
built a great airplane and they're already eager to compete again
next year in Tuscon where heat and dust are minor inconveniences compared
to a Wichita tornado!
The 2012 AeroDesign Team in Wichita, Kansas. Behind the group
is the ferris wheel knocked over when the Wichita twister passed
PoSCeidon executing a loop and roll.