Lift - Spring 2012 - (Page 5)
BOU N DLESS
Project leader Lori Costello (’09, ’11, DB) agrees. Costello oversaw a team of 200 students who designed and constructed the aircraft, and created her master’s thesis around it. “I learned so much,” she says. “I learned about structural analysis, aerodynamics, aircraft cooling, and critical thinking. But I also learned how to motivate people who aren’t getting paid. That was one of the most dif cult tasks.” In honor of her accomplishments, Costello was one of eight students selected to attend the annual Alumni Association trip to New York City and luncheon at the prestigious Wings Club in November.
Eco Eagle soars into aviation history
BY BOB ROSS AND SARA WITHROW
or a team of student engineers from Embry-Riddle, NASA’s Green Flight Challenge was the ultimate life lesson in hard work, disappointment and reward. While the team was disquali ed from competing for the $1.35 million prize two days before the contest, held Sept. 25 through Oct. 3 in Santa Rosa, Calif., they garnered international accolades for their efforts and made history with their aircraft design. “NASA conducted a search and con rmed that our plane is in fact the rst gas/electric [direct drive] hybrid in history,” says Richard “Pat” Anderson, professor of aerospace engineering and faculty adviser for the project. Additionally, EmbryRiddle’s converted Stemme S10 motor glider, appropriately named “Eco Eagle,” was the only student design in the contest.
manufacturers Pipistrel and e-Genius, which came in rst and second respectively with fully electric versions. Embry-Riddle was allowed to y in the challenge but was ineligible for the prize money because of rules that required each airplane to be equipped with a ballistic recovery chute and include a passenger for each seat in the cockpit. Embry-Riddle’s strong safety culture ruled out carrying a passenger. “You don’t risk two people on an experimental ight when only one is needed,” Anderson explains. And while the Eco Eagle team had planned to out t the aircraft with a recovery chute in California, after learning of the disquali cation, the installation became moot. Waiving claim to the prize money was “a small price to pay,” says Maj Mirmirani, dean of the College of Engineering at the Daytona Beach Campus. “For our students, being part of this historic event and competing in it was everything.”
All of the Eco Eagle ights were own by Embry-Riddle test pilot Mikhael Ponso (’03, DB). It was on the Eco Eagle’s 12th test ight (Sept. 7) that Ponso shut down the gas-powered engine and was able to successfully start the electric motor in ight— making history. “I must have attempted to start the electric motor at least 20 times on two previous test ights and it wouldn’t work [due to safety coding related to the electrical motor speed],” he says. “The next ight it started right away. I texted the team on the ground, ‘It’s alive. The electric motor is actually alive and running.’ ” While the Green Flight Challenge is over, the Eco Eagle will continue to y. Exhibition ights are tentatively planned for 2012 air shows, including Oshkosh. Top Eco Eagle supporters include Aviation Education Foundation, David L. Robertson, drivetek ag, Flight Design, MT-Propeller, Randall P. Fiorenza (’86, ’90, DB), Rotax Aircraft Engines, and Stemme.
Photos by Kimberly Smith
Preparations for the Green Flight Challenge began more than two years ago after NASA issued a public challenge: Create an aircraft that can y 200 passenger miles per gallon at 100 miles per hour. A total of 13 teams answered the call; however, by the date of the competition, only four remained: Embry-Riddle; aircraft distributor Phoenix Air; and aircraft
Watch the Embry-Riddle Team in Action
View a two-part Discovery Channel production of the Green Flight Challenge, featuring the Embry-Riddle team. PART 1: http://watch.discoverychannel.ca/#clip573634 PART 2: http://watch.discoverychannel.ca/#clip574341
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Lift - Spring 2012
Lift - Spring 2012
Letter from the President
Wings of Legacy
Home on the Range
Giving to Embry-Riddle
Alumni in Action
Lift - Spring 2012