WPI Hosts Student Aeronautics and Astronautics Conference

Al Sacco describes his Spacelab mission.

On March 27 and 28, WPI hosted the 2009 New England Student Conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). This year's conference included 17 presentations by students from WPI, Clarkson University, Cornell University, Syracuse University, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

The conference, hosted annually by one of the regional universities with active AIAA chapters, provides an opportunity for students interested in aerospace to exchange ideas and meet industry professionals. Al Sacco, former head of WPI’s Department of Chemical Engineering and a mission specialist who in 1995 performed research in a Spacelab module carried into space aboard the shuttle Columbia, gave the keynote address. Arthur Heinricher, WPI’s dean of undergraduate studies, opened the conference.

A total of 21 representatives from industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) served as judges for the technical papers and the oral presentations. They chose the winners in three categories; each winner received a cash prize awarded by the AIAA.

Jonathan Holla of Clarkson University

The Winners

Master’s Students

First Prize: “Characteristics of Metal Combustion from Constant Volume Explosion Experiments,” Priya Radhi Santhanam, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Second Prize: “Bio-Inspired Bat Wing Design and Fabrication,” Richard Callahan, Cornell University

Third Prize: “Aerodynamics of Opposing Jet Local Ventilation,” Chonghui Liu, Syracuse University

Student Teams

First Prize: “Automated Pilot Control Assistance for a Micro-Scale Helicopter,” Jeff Hudson, Parker Evans, Collin Weber, Cornell University

Second Prize: “Design Optimization of a Quad-Rotor Capable of Autonomous Flight,” Paul Lindenfelzer, Antonio DiCesare, Kyle Gustafson, Tanvir Anjum, WPI

Third Prize: “Design of Shape-Transforming Canopies for Parachutes,” Kyle Miller, Jeffrey Moffett, Casey Rogan, Amanda Pollack, WPI

Undergraduate Students

First Prize: “Application of Proportional-Integral-Derivative Control to a Supersonic Wind Tunnel,” Kristin Busa, Syracuse University

Second Prize: “Experimental Evaluation of a Modified Weissinger Extended Lifting-Line Analysis,” Charles Daitch, Cornell University

Third Prize: “High-Speed Multipurpose ESTOL/VTOL Aircraft Design,” Jonathan Holla, Clarkson University

April 3, 2009

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