Team Propwork all set to fly high at US aeromodelling race

Updated: Jan 12, 2019, 16:14 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Ten engineers from city college appeal for crowdfunding on social media for their project, raise Rs 37,000 out of the Rs 1.5 lakh they sought

A basic design of the aero model Propwork is preparing
A basic design of the aero model Propwork is preparing

As team Propwork from Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering prepares to make a mark at the SAE International Aero Design competition to be held in Texas, USA, starting March 8, 2019, help pours in through social media in the form crowdfunding to make their project the best in the league. Apart from these 10 engineering students, teams DJS Skylark and Onyx India from D J Sanghvi College of Engineering and K J Somaiya College of Engineering would also take part in the competition along with participants from across the world.

In a bid to get substantial monetary help for their project, Propwork made a crowdfunding request on social media for R1.5 lakh. They have already collected R37,000 and are confident of raising the rest. This amount would be over and above the R2 lakh that the college has given them for the project expenses. Ahaan Bhosale, Propwork leader, said, "Having participated in the Boeing-IIT Techfest aeromodelling competition for two years in a row, it has become more than just a hobby. We've been working on this project with help from several mentors, most whom have more than 10 years of experience in aeromodelling."

The team works on the project after their college hours, either at the campus or at Bhosale's house
The team works on the project after their college hours, either at the campus or at Bhosale's house

"We're one of the top 85 teams flying to Texas this March, and we are prepared to win. What we need now are the resources to quantify the work we have done. Transforming the plane from a solidworks file to a model that can actually fly requires a lot of money. Our college has contributed a part of what we need, and the rest will come through crowdfunding," added Bhosale.

Thinking out of the box
Speaking about what motivated them to take up the project, the team leader said, "The desire to go beyond the scope of just the engineering syllabus forced us to explore the reason why we chose this profession — to invent, design and create something that is truly ours."

Funding important
"A great deal of funding is required for manufacturing and testing planes of this scale, especially when 90 per cent of the components have been imported from China, where there are strict customs charges. Though this amount will not cover our travel and accommodation expenses, it will at least meet the project's basic expenses," Bhosale said.

Deadline approaches
"According to the rules of the competition, technical specifications regarding the model's functioning should be sent by January 24. As of know we have completed 70 per cent of our work. We hope to conduct the test flight at Mahalakshmi racecourse by month-end, and then we will do a full flight operation at the Amby Valley air stretch," the leader said.

Project's aim
The focus is mainly on the plane's ability to lift maximum number of passengers (in the form of tennis balls) along with their checked-in luggage (in the form of steel plates). The design requires it to be lightweight, but strong and efficient. It should be able to lift a total weight of 25 kgs. It also needs to take off, take a round and then land safely.

No. of teams taking part in the competition from across the world

March 8
Day the competition is going to start

The competition
The SAE Aero Design competition requires participants to work on the design and fabrication of a large RC airliner, on the lines of a commercial plane. With limits on wingspans, takeoff and landing distances and motor power, it truly pushes students to come up with unique solutions for aviation problems – rising fuel prices, limited space, heavy aircraft and increasing number of passengers. Industry experts from companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin will judge the competition.

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