AIAA NJIT Glider Building Challenge Sponsored by AIAA Northern New Jersey Section Written 8 October 2013

by: Rayon Williams, Student Branch Chair, NJIT, and Dr. Edward Dreizin, Chapter Advisor, NJIT

NJIT Executive Board (top), and students at work during the building session.

AIAA NJIT Graduate Chapter, in conjunction with Northern New Jersey Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, hosted a two-day glider building event and competition at NJIT. This was the first event ever of this kind held on NJIT campus, aimed at stimulating the creative skills and ingenuity of our graduate and undergraduate students. Participants were required to register online for the event, after which they received a glider building manual and rules of the competition prepared by the AIAA NJIT Graduate Chapter’s executive board. The major limitation imposed was on the wing span of the gliders with the maximum allowable length of 18 inches. Teams consisting of a maximum of two students or individuals were allowed to enter the competition for two top prizes. Prizes were awarded for the best glider design and the glider traveling the longest distance.

The building of gliders by the participating students was conducted on September 21st, between 11 AM-3 PM in the NJIT campus center. This involved a 30 minute safety session held on the use of sharp instruments and tools used in the construction of the gliders. Participants were provided all the necessary materials: balsawood, craft knives, glue, markers, sand paper, rulers, and pencils for building their gliders. Lunch was provided for the participants during this period along with guidance from all members of the AIAA NJIT Graduate Chapter’s executive board. A total of 11 gliders were built by 8 individual participants and 3 teams.

Judges at work (top left); Raymond Trohanowsky accepting certificate of appreciation on behave of AIAA North New Jersey Section (top right); competition winners, chapter advisor and chapter president (center); and students participating during the flyoff (bottom)

To ensure that the glued components of the gilders had sufficient time to dry, the design and fly-off competition was held two days later on September 23rd, at the upper green of NJIT campus with sufficient flying space. Mr. Raymond Trohanowsky (Chair, NNJ Section), Professor Ravindra (NJIT Physics Department) and Professor Mani (NJIT Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering) were invited as three guest judges for the design competition. They assessed the gliders based on several criteria with a maximum possible score of 100. Majority of the points were awarded based on creativity, ingenuity and quality of finishing. The winning glider for the design portion of the competition was built by Gustavo Alvarez and Toha Poveda (Mechanical Engineering graduate students) and the runner up in the design challenge was Nellone Reid (Chemical Engineering graduate student). Winners received a gift card ($50) and certificate and the runner up was presented an AIAA NJIT T-shirt.

After the competition of the design section, we transitioned into the fly-off. Each team/individual was given three attempts at launching the gliders with the maximum distance of the three being recorded. The winning glider travelled a distance of 62 ft, again built by Gustavo Alvarez and Toha Poveda, travelling only 6 inches farther than the second place glider that was built by Kevin Nyamangorora (Mechanical Engineering graduate student). The publicity from this event is expected to encourage enrolment of students to the AIAA NJIT student chapter.

Overall, the glider building challenge conducted by the students of the AIAA Graduate chapter was well attended and well received by the NJIT community. This event showcased the individual talents of the participating students and their success in the glider fly-off event is a testament to their skills. Finally this event provided the chapter a platform to communicate the message of the AIAA community. Based on the success of the event, the NJIT AIAA Graduate Chapter is proud to host an annual glider building challenge in the years to come.