Mines selected to compete in aerospace competition

For the first time, a team of 18 Mines students has been selected to compete in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design/Build/Fly competition April 15-17 in Wichita, Kansas.

The competition required teams to submit a proposal detailing the design, testing and manufacturing of two aircrafts. One hundred forty three teams applied and the Mines team, CSM BurroWorks, was selected as one of 93 teams from around the world to compete.

“What has impressed me the most is that these students are participating without any background on aircraft design or aerodynamics,” said Angel Abbud-Madrid, faculty advisor for the Mines AIAA chapter and director of the Center for Space Resources. “They have come up with an innovative and workable design for this competition.”

Formerly known as the CSM Space Society club, the Mines AIAA chapter has been able to expose members to new opportunities like this one.

Mines mechanical engineering senior and AIAA member Dominic Pena met last summer with the president of the Mines chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Sam Drescher, to work on forming a team. They held a club meeting in the fall, reviewed applications and selected 18 out of 80 students who applied to be part of the team.

“My freshman year I heard of this competition and at that time, I tried to get it started. But now that I’m a senior, I really wanted to get it going,” Pena said. “There’s a lot of passion on our team – everyone really enjoys aerospace.”

Using the computer-modeling program, SolidWorks, students designed two planes: one with a 60-inch wingspan made out of carbon fiber and one with a 50-inch wingspan made out of foam. The team is currently performing glide tests with the smaller airplane on the Arvada Associated Modelers Flying Field.

Teams will be judged on the design, manufacturing and demonstration of the flight capabilities of their unmanned, electric powered, radio controlled aircrafts. The winning team will receive $2,500 and be invited to present their design at an AIAA conference.

CSM BurroWorks meets twice a week in the Senior Design Labs on the Mines campus. The AIAA-Rocky Mountain Section, ASME, Lockheed Martin and the Colorado Space Grant are helping fund the club’s participation in the competition.


Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public research university focused on science and engineering, where students and faculty together address the great challenges society faces today - particularly those related to the Earth, energy and the environment.