Five undergraduate students from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering came second among 153 teams in the first and biggest national aircraft design competition organized by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
The award-winning design “Soaring Dragon” is a two-seater amphibious aircraft featuring a pair of hydrofoils at the bottom that minimizes the take-off distance on water, a downward folding wing tip that warns pilots of water breaches and foldable wings which allows flexible movements on ground. The winning design model was on display at China Aviation Industry General Aircraft’s headquarters in Zhuhai.
It was the first attempt for the five students, namely Jeff Chen, Leo Zhu, Michelle Jia, Chi-cheung Choi and Yuyang Xie, to compete in the national event, with participating teams comprising mostly postgraduate students and professionals. The team spent a month in summer to conduct research, generated the conceptual design and constructed a 1:10 model for the competition.
“The standards of other award-winning designs are all of high quality and this has been an eye-opening experience for all of us. I hope to see future HKUST students achieving better results in the competitions to come,” said Chi-cheung.
The students will join an expert team formed by HKUST and AVIC to build a similar two-seater aircraft model for the private aviation market in Mainland China. HKUST and AVIC have also signed multiple agreements to promote broad research collaboration recently.
The five students developed their passion in aircraft modelling since young and are all determined to further their studies or pursue a career in aerospace engineering. They initiated an Aeronautics Interest Group at school three years ago for aircraft enthusiasts like themselves to share the dream, and participate in many international aircraft building contests.