Inter-varsity radio controlled aircraft competition 2022

Posted on November 16, 2022

The Irene Radio Flyers Club played host to the annual intervarsity flight competition, a competition designed to encourage young students about the joys of flight. On the 30th of October 2022 the enthusiastic group of university aeronautical students got together to compete. The University of Pretoria had 7 teams competing for the prize, against the University of the Witwatersrand. Under the leadership of the aeronautics lecturer Dr. Barbara Huyssen, the final year aeronautical students designed and manufactured their radio controlled aircraft. The success of these aircraft was demonstrated by the University of Pretoria teams claiming the top two podium positions. Students were tasked to combine their knowledge of aerodynamics, structural mechanics, control systems, electrical engineering, and design principles to create an RC aircraft capable of transporting as many tennis balls as possible around the prescribed course within the allocated time. To keep the playing field fair, all competitors had to design their fixed wing aircraft around the same specified motor.

Team Supersonics winning plane

The early morning rise saw the UP students in their team colours, thanks to the sponsorship of the UP Aerospace society. The final touches and adjustments were made during the last hours before the competition commenced, all supervised by the design expert Dr Joachim Huyssen. The Masters Student Mr. Graham Lloyd, an experience pilot received the last briefings from the design team before taking to the sky. The University’s team “Supersonic” tasked Graham with transporting a payload of 9 tennis balls through the competition course for their first attempt. Graham took root, feet apart; the only thing moving were his thumbs, in full control…

(i) Winning Team Supersonic (ii) The UP-wind team placed second

Two teams “Supersonic” and “UP-wind” headed into the final event all tied-up, ready to compete for the win. “Supersonic” made the call to add 2 extra tennis balls, with full confidence in their design team and pilot they set off. The 5 minute window flew by and in the very last dying seconds the team manage to get all their balls across the line to take home the win. “UP-wind” coming in a close second place to further cement the University of Pretoria’s long standing 11 year wins record. 

UP won the best university award

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