SAE Aero-Design West 2008 at Thunderbird Field this weekend: April 5 and 6. - RC Groups
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Mar 31, 2008, 04:51 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar

SAE Aero-Design West 2008 at Thunderbird Field this weekend: April 5 and 6.

The Fort Worth Thunderbirds are hosting the well know SAE Aero Design R/C aircraft payload competition competition for the western half of the US this coming weekend at Thunderbird Field. Flying will be on Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6. Friday, April 4 is for tech inspection elsewhere and is not a flying day.

All interested spectators are more than welcome to come out and watch.

There are 53 collegiate teams, some from other countries, coming to town for this event, which is sponored by Lockheed Martin.

This is a payload event in three different classes, Open, Regular (all use the same glow motor in Regular class) and Micro Electric.

Rules for each class here here:

Map to the field, here:

List of registered teams here:

It is usually a quite interesting event to watch as the often untried models get their test...
Last edited by Thomas B; Mar 31, 2008 at 07:02 PM.
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Apr 05, 2008, 11:22 PM
Balsa Builder
Paul Susbauer's Avatar
Well today was the first day of the flight competition. A lot of really great looking and flying planes. Kansas has a neat looking bi-plane that appears to be doing quite well.

Winds were switching their direction several times today, mostly a slight crosswind, but overall pretty nice.

Not much carnage compared to what I've seen in past years. Most either did take off and complete a circuit, or just never really got off the ground. No mid-air failures that I saw. I am flying for Gonzaga University. We're having some problems, we're one of the teams having issues getting off the runway, mostly stemming from not having enough aileron authority on a highly out of trim airplane that is flying at such a low speed that they aren't terribly effective. Its going to be a late night tonight.

Apr 06, 2008, 10:17 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
It was a great weekend out there with the SAE competitors.

(Paul, I was the big guy flying for a couple of the teams: University of Minnesota for Regular and Micro Class and University of California Davis for Regular and Micro class. I am glad to hear that there we some other R/C Groups folks out there. Fitz Walker was one of the very few others.)

I did not write down the results, but here are some of them.

Both Open and Regular Class was won by Ecole de Polytechnique Montreal, who really did do a great job.

Colorado State was hot on their heels in Open with a pretty amazing twin .40 powered model, which also won the techical achievement award. Both of the open class winners were flying at the max permissible 55 lbs flying weight. A very slightly lower empty weight let Montreal take the lead, with a higher payload fraction.

Kansas State was second in Regular class, with a good looking high aspect ratio biplane. (Both regular class winners were high aspect ratio biplanes)

I was very pleased and excited that the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Micro team that I was flying for was the winner in Micro class. They had a very nice conventional high wing model that weighed a little less than one pound, powered by a Little Screamer outrunner. It flew with an additional two pounds of payload. Concordia University was second, as I recall.

Ought to be some stuff on the web sites soon. will have photos on line in a few hours and will also have a DVD of the event.
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Apr 08, 2008, 12:04 AM
Balsa Builder
Paul Susbauer's Avatar
Great wrap up of the event. I was quite impressed with the micro class. The Colorado State plane was amazing. Their self launching mechanism worked wonderfully.

Our team was a little bummed that the plane did not fly. I got all my flying for the weekend done flying my T-rex 500 in the Target parking lot at the hotel where everyone was staying after they shut off all the lights.

Thomas, I remember seeing you there, same with Fitz. I met Fitz 4 years ago when I was down for the same competition.

The guys from Concordia were great to chat with, one of their advisors I had met 4 years ago. The Boise State team, the low winger with the big V-tail, that was a great flying airplane, and a hella cool team.

Thanks to all the volunteers from the Ft. Worth T-birds, SAE, and Lockheed Martin.


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