Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


25 Jul 2019

IMechE UAS Challenge 2019

UAS 2019 Team x 670

At the end of January this year the Loughborough University UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) Team started to design their aircraft for this year’s IMechE UAS Challenge.

Solving design and system issues along the way, the team worked closely with Bombardier.  Two of the team members - Jack and Jeffrey – had the opportunity to visit their site in Belfast to discuss the competition and their design at the end March.

Coming back from the trip to Belfast, realising that they were running out of time and quite behind compared to other teams, members worked hard to get the build back on track and managed to finish the aircraft three weeks prior to the competition, which gave them some time to test the aircraft.

In the test flights the aircraft performed well in terms of auto takeoff and landing, as well as fly by wire and it was able to release a package in midair automatically.

UAS Comp 2019 x 300

At the competition at Snowdonia Aerospace Centre, Llanbedr, Wales, the aircraft passed scrutineering but although the Team did better at each attempt, they were unsuccessful in the flight tests, with the aircraft crashing each time and dealing with the subsequent damage.

To the Teams’ credit, they didn’t give up and worked hard to achieve the flights, but it was clearly a difficult task with only 6 out of 32 teams managing to perform all parts of the mission and so the Team did well to come 14th!

Team Leader, Jeffrey Wong -stated:

“I see this project as a massive success, it allowed us to learn so much more about this area which we would have never learnt in lectures and we did it all within a few months - trying to understand how the systems work and how best to design the aircraft!

We are a relatively young Team (nine 2nd year students and one 3rd year student) and so being able to enter this competition with a chance to win and then getting through scrutineering with ease is a great achievement.

We as a team have been pushed to the limit this year but we have come out the other end feeling proud and exceeding our own expectations.

We haven’t given up yet!  If we get a chance next year to do this again, we will use the knowledge that we gained this year and we can most definitely build an aircraft that would be more competitive next year, in time we can build Loughborough a winning team.”

University Teacher, John Newton, who supports the Team stated:

“It is worth stressing that whilst the flights were unsuccessful from the point of view of being fully autonomous, the aircraft did get airborne with a payload and flew well in semi-autonomous mode, getting positive comments from the competition pilot.”

The Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering is proud to have students who always give of their best in these competitions and this year’s UAS Challenge Team are no exception – we know that they will do better next year when we, (and they!) hope that they will be bringing home the trophies!

Team Members

Jeffrey Wong (Team Leader)

System Section: Victor Parry (Navigation Systems Lead), Henry Orton (Image Recognition System Lead) and Tarik Rahman Tajmilur (Propulsion Lead)

Design Section: Martin-Chung Missihoun (Design Lead), Jack Curtis (Structural Lead), Tilak Bhavsar (Design Integrations Lead) and Aleksandra Rodakowska (Aerodynamic Lead)

Manufacturing Section: Esther Neat (Manufacturing Lead) and Nayab Siddique (Manufacturing)