Brett Bowen at SAE Aero West competition 2016 in Los Angeles!!

Brett Bowen said:
The 2016 SAE Aero West competition is in the books, and I was lucky enough to be the Pilot for WSU Tri-Cities again this year. There were 3 classes of 75 teams from Universities around the world, and our team competed in the “Regular” class. The objective was to design and build an airplane with a removable payload bay, and achieve a successful flight while loaded with as much weight as possible.
The plane is limited a total of 175 inches (length + wingspan + height), a 6-cell LiPo, and a 1000 Watt limiter. If we exceeded 1000 watts for a sustained second, the limiter chops the throttle to idle and holds it there for one second.
In 2015 we ordered a Scorpion SII-5525-195kV motor, but didn’t have access to the proper electric props. Regardless, it made a ton of power, and we saw way more Scorpion motors at the event this year. This year we used the same motor, but were able to buy the proper electric props and made 20% more power without exceeding the 1000W limit. We did a lot of prop testing before we left for the competition, and made well over 14lbs of thrust without exceeding the 1000W limit. We narrowed our selection of props down to 3; a 25×10 for morning flights, a 25×12 for mid-day flights, and a 26×12 for evening flights in thin air.
Before the plane left the ground in California, it got a lot of attention. Rather than building a tricycle gear airplane like most of the other teams, we chose a tail dragger design to swing a large prop on our low kV motor. When the other teams saw our airplane with a 26″ prop, they all came over to check it out. After talking with the other top teams, we found that they had peaked in the 10-12lb thrust range compared to our 14.6lbs. Even the team from Poland that wins almost every year came over to take a picture of our motor.
During the competition, we had to achieve takeoff in less than 200 feet. Once the teams had loaded their planes up with weight, they were having a tough time getting off the ground, especially in the allowed 200 feet. Even loaded with an extra 14.1lbs of weight, our plane never took more than 30-40 feet to takeoff. We were in the top 10 all weekend long, and always had more than enough power. We had a great time, learned a ton, and got to show off the capabilities of a Scorpion motor!

This entry was posted in Competitions. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.