College of Engineering

UMass Dartmouth team places third in national aero-design competition

A University of Massachusetts Dartmouth team of mechanical engineering students ranked first in one category and placed third overall at the 2006 SAE International Aero-Design® East Competition sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

In the Micro class division, Adam Proulx of Hanson, MA, Kasra Sharifi of Braintree, MA, and Luisandro Ramos of Fall River, MA, earned the top spot in the "most payload lifted" category, besting competitors from U.S. Military Academy, Stevens Institute of Technology, Parks College of St. Louis University and Wright State University. The competition was held earlier this month in Marietta, Georgia.

The contest challenges engineering students to conceive, design, fabricate and test a radio controlled aircraft that can take off and land while carrying the maximum cargo. According to Dr. Tesfay Meressi, chairperson of the mechanical engineering department, the project's difficulty lies in its conflicting objectives: to be light and fly and land safely while still carrying the maximum possible weight. In addition, students were responsible for written and oral presentations.

Assistant Professor Katja Holtta-Otta was instructor for the senior design project class and coordinator of the teams. Associate Professor Alex Fowler served as technical advisor.

"We're very proud of all of the students and their accomplishments," Dr. Meressi said, adding that this was the university's first attempt at competing in this event.

For more information, contact Dr. Meressi at (508) 910-6919 or

Author: "Dr. Tesfay Meressi"
Date: 22-5-2006

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