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Students work on their RC plane design

Engineering seniors prepare for international aero design competition

by Hannah Fair, Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University mechanical engineering seniors are designing and constructing a new remote control (RC) airplane for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International Aero Design East Competition in Lakeland, Florida. The competition will be held March 9-11, 2018.

Lockheed Martin, a worldwide global security and aerospace company, sponsors the SAE RC airplane competition; the company often gleans technological ideas and innovations from colleges and universities that participate in the event. SAE organizes the entire competition, while Lockheed Martin funds the RC airplane event.

The competition is extremely competitive, as countries from around the world send their best to compete, and Cedarville University has repeatedly placed in the top five. In 2016, Cedarville earned second place for the presentation category of the competition and seventh overall out of 14 teams. 2018 will be the third year Cedarville participates in the advanced class of the competition.

The advanced competition requires teams to use an onboard telemetry system that relays flight information to a ground station in order to drop a weight onto a target from 100 feet in the air. “This project gives students a glimpse at how competitive and challenging some areas of engineering design can be; it equips them well for the real world,” said Dr. Tim Norman, distinguished professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering.

“The students have to learn to cooperate as a team,” he continued. “This project succeeds only because people work together, and this group of individuals has a good working relationship and strong technical skill that will hopefully translate into moving up in the rankings.”

Mechanical engineering seniors working on this project are Jacob Danna (Syracuse, NY), Logan Delk (Brookville, OH), Jordan Denen (Xenia, OH), Christian Hopkins (Milton, DE), Nathan Jaquish (Bellbrook, OH), Rebekah Jensen (Chugiak, AK), Wesley Kimmel (Madison, CT), David King (Warrenton, VA), Philip Kline (Myerstown, PA), Anna Parkinson (Port Orchard, WA), Heather Reitmeyer (Shohola, PA) and Mark Watt (Bedford, OH). The team designed and tested the plane during fall semester.

The RC airplane pilot is Dr. Keith Numbers, the weapons system integration lead in the turbine engine division at the research laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Numbers was introduced to the Cedarville aero team through the Miami RC club in Xenia.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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