Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


14 Aug 2019

BMFA Challenge 2019

BMFA 2019 x 670

This year, Loughborough University Aeronautical Engineering undergraduate students took part in the British Model Flying Association (BMFA) Payload Challenge. The challenge is open to Universities around the globe and this year, our students entered their plane the ‘Balsa Duck.’

Team members this year were: Tom Blake, Pietro Casabianca, Reiny Brown, Santhush Thilakaratne and James McKevitt.  The Team were supported throughout their experience, by University Teacher John Newton.

Teams must supply a report and a full set of technical drawings as well as give a presentation to a panel of expert judges and are allowed up to three qualifying flights where the challenge is to carry as many polystyrene balls around a circuit within a six minute time frame. This includes loading the aircraft, taking off, landing, unloading the aircraft and repeating as often as possible.

The Balsa Duck was a heavily modified and updated version of last year’s aircraft, “Lisa”, which was found to be too heavy and had insufficient flying capabilities. For this year’s aircraft, the team dropped the overall weight by 40% from last year’s and introduced streamlining of the fuselage to decrease aerodynamic drag. The largest innovation for the aircraft however was the introduction of a lightweight, yet effective suspension system which allowed for the aircraft to stay intact and perform at a consistently high level.

The team of Part B Aeronautical Engineering students finished 3rd overall in the Payload Challenge and equalised the BMFA record for most balls carried in a single run!

The Team stated:

"It was truly a proud moment when we first saw our plane take off and fly. It felt like we redeemed ourselves from the previous year's struggles. It's taken a lot of effort and dedication to get this result. Project Redemption has been a great success.”

The Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering Department offers its congratulations to Team Redemption and we look forward to seeing what else they achieve whilst they are here at Loughborough University!