Design Build Fly Rises to the Challenge

Despite the odds being against them, Design Build Fly Dares to try

Although no one is an aerospace major at UMKC, they can still get flight simulator experience!

Gabriel Flynn, Staff Writer

  Founded just a week before competition proposals were due, UMKC’s Design Build Fly group rushed together to seize this opportunity for victory.

  As their name suggests, they must design, build and fly an airplane-styled drone and write a detailed proposal explaining exactly how it works.

  To start, they have drawn up blueprints and begun 3D-printing parts for assembly.

  With a friendly, energetic environment, everyone is invested in the competition. No matter what they may be studying, when students walk into the room they are aerospace engineers.

   Katie Butler, a junior in mechanical engineering and president of Design Build Fly said, “We don’t have any aviation or aerospace programs for undergrads, but we’re all learning even without that.”

  The odds are against the team. There are four missions they must complete in the competition, each granting a “multiplier” boosting their score. The top 20 teams all receive a multiplier of four. Perfection is a minimum for success.

  While participants rushed their proposal, that is not the real trouble. Most teams start in the summer whereas they started in late November. They are not only going against more experience but have nearly half the time to complete the same amount of work. 

The team doesn’t let it get to them, however.
  “No matter where we end up competition-wise, we just want to go and see what other people do,” Butler said.

The Design, Build, Fly team is for all UMKC students. From planning to flying, anyone can contribute
The Design, Build, Fly team is for all UMKC students. From planning to flying, anyone can contribute. (Gabriel Flynn)

  Recently they completed their design report, a massive document, limited to 60 pages. Now, they are waiting on materials for the plane, but have nearly everything else finished.  

  Members get to practice flying airplanes in Redbird, an airplane simulator Vice President Valentine Echekwu said could earn students two hours towards a pilot license.

  While not the same as the radio controller aircraft used in the competition, which is more like a drone, this is a great experience to allow growth for those interested in aeronautics.

  The Design Build Fly competition will be hosted from April 13 to 17. New members can join via Roo Groups. Meetings are Mondays from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. in the Plaster Center room 305 and Fridays from 12:00 to 2:30 p.m. in room 104.

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