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Cedarville seniors part of SAE Aero Design 4th place team

CU team places 4th in world in aero design competition

by Hannah Fair, Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University mechanical engineering seniors brought their newly designed remote control (RC) airplane to the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) International Aero Design East Competition in Lakeland, Florida, on March 9-11. The team finished fourth in the international competition.

Cedarville’s final ranking is the best in the university’s history. Georgia Tech University won the competition, followed by Pontifical Catholic University (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil) and the University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio), who beat Cedarville by just two points. The University of Michigan placed fifth. Several national and international teams were unable to obtain a flight score due to the complexity and number of flight requirements. Cedarville flew in all of the seven rounds of competition.

The advanced competition requires teams to use an onboard telemetry system that relays flight information to a ground station to aim a weight onto a target from 100 feet in the air. The Cedarville team placed second in the presentation category and third in drop points, which measured how close the weight landed to the target.

“This is the top airplane design, build and fly competition in the world, and advanced class is the most difficult measure of student skills at that competition,” said Dr. Timothy Norman, professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering. “We were competing against schools that had doctorate programs in aeronautical engineering. For Cedarville to place fourth in the world in the east competition reflects quality Cedarville’s engineering program.”

Seniors who competed for Cedarville included Jacob Danna (Syracuse, NY), Logan Delk (Brookville, OH), Jordan Denen (Xenia, OH), Christian Hopkins (Milton, DE), Nathan Jaquish (Bellbrook, OH), Rebekah Jensen (Chugiak, AK) (team captain), 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). They designed and tested the RC plane during fall and early spring semester.

“Multiple organizers of the competition complimented Cedarville’s excellent problem-solving skills and positive influence on other teams. Our students functioned as a cohesive team, despite some technical issues,” continued Norman. “The Cedarville students worked together to solve problems that arose; it was encouraging to watch. Students were even offered opportunities for employment at the competition. I am very pleased with these students for displaying all we have instilled in them over the past four years.”

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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