The team's main goal was to achieve the design
and construction of a modular, micro-class (UAV) aircraft that met a
packaging constraint and was capable of being quickly assembled in the
field by a minimum number of people.
Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are a relatively
recent development in the aviation industry. They are remotely
controlled aircraft, generally used by the military, but also adapted
for use by scientific and commercial industries. They have proven
useful for search and rescue, reconnaissance and surveillance.
There are currently 3 main types of MAVs used: fixed wing models,
flapping wing models and rotating wing models.
The first remote controlled plane was built by
Dr. William E. Good and his twin brother in May 1937. Since then,
considerable change has occurred. In the 1950s, the government
began to experiment of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Then, in the 1990s, the military realized the practicality of using MAVs
and UAVs for real life missions. Today, the military has a target
size of 6 inches for all MAVs.
The team's plane was designed according to requirements set forth for
the SAE 2008 Aero Design Competition. These requirements focused
on designing and constructing an aircraft capable of carrying the highest payload fraction while pursuing the lowest empty
weight possible. Here is a brief overview of the requirements the
- Weight restriction of 10 pounds or less
- No lighter-than-air or rotary wing aircraft designs allowed
- Payload cannot contribute to the structural integrity of the
- Payload must be fully enclosed
- Takeoff must occur within 3 minutes and 100 feet
- Landing must occur within 200 feet and be in the same direction
- Aircraft must be capable of successfully completing a 360º
circuit of the airfield
- Aircraft must fit into a 36 inch x 60
inch x 8 inch carrying case
- Ease of assembly must be demonstrated
by 2 people within 3 minutes
For a full listing of requirements, please visit
MAVs have found their importance within the
military. MAVs are capable of being used for surveillance and
search and rescue missions. Since MAVs are both small and
unmanned, they are capable of entering areas and locations deemed to be
unsafe for entry by humans. They re capable of locating victims
quickly and easily. Therefore, MAVs have the ability to prevent
injury and loss of life.