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Engineering Students Twice Victorious at International Rotorcraft Design Competition

UMD engineering teams took top honors in both the graduate and collaborative categories in an international competition sponsored by Airbus to design a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

Academic teams from around the world submitted entries in this year’s Student Design Competition sponsored by the Vertical Flight Society, with a total of 18 proposals from six different countries. The top-winning entries are available here, along with past winners.

The 2018–19 theme was “Extreme Altitude Mountain Rescue Vehicle,” which challenged students to design a rotorcraft to perform emergency medical services up to the highest altitudes in the world.

Competitors designing a rotorcraft had to consider the following: What would one look like when specifically designed to perform emergency medical services on Mount Everest? What technologies could enable such a vehicle? Could it be used for other purposes as well?

“Each member of the team worked day and night for months to design this extreme altitude helicopter that can save lives from world's highest peaks,” said Seyhan Gul, graduate team leader.

Maryland’s graduate team won first place, plus an award for best weight optimization, as did its undergraduate team, working with Universidad de Carlos III in Madrid, Spain.

“I was impressed that all of the undergraduate students stayed on campus until June 1 to finalize their ‘Tahr’ helicopter design report,” said Jim Baeder, professor of aerospace engineering and undergraduate faculty adviser for the UMD team.

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