The SAE Aero Design competition is intended to provide undergraduate and graduate engineering students with a real-life engineering challenge. The competition has been designed to provide exposure to the kinds of situations that engineers face in their real-life work environment. First and foremost a design competition, students will find themselves performing trade studies and making compromises to arrive at a design solution that will optimally meet the mission requirements while still conforming to the configuration limitations.
The importance of interpersonal communication skills is sometimes overlooked, yet both written and oral communication skills are vital in the engineering workplace. To help teams develop these skills, a high percentage of a team’s score is devoted to the design report and the oral presentation required in the competition.
SAE Aero Design features three classes of competition-Regular, Advanced, and Micro. Regular Class continues to be the class with the purpose to develop the fundamental understanding of flight. We recommended Regular Class for first year teams interested in competing. Advanced Class requires teams to have a systems approach to the design while integrating several engineering disciplines: aeronautical, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineers. The ultimate end goal for this class is autonomous flight with a “purpose” decided every year by rules committee members. Micro Class teams are required to make trades between two potentially conflicting requirements, carrying the highest payload fraction possible, while simultaneously pursuing the lowest empty weight possible.