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An international annual event sponsored by SAE International, the SAE Aero Design® competition is specifically directed toward college students interested in aeronautical engineering. Lawrence Tech has incorporated the competition primarily into its engineering curriculum as a year-long project, but it is also open to any student on campus, freshman through senior, interested in gaining valuable experience.

SAE Aero Design® features three classes of competition: regular, advance, and micro. The 2013 Lawrence Tech SAE Aero Design® team will compete in the regular class against teams from around the world. Their challenge is to design, build, test, and fly a heavy-lift radio-controlled aircraft. Given a set of constraints, the goal is to airlift the most weight possible. A competitive 10-pound plane will lift 30 pounds of payload.

Constraints specified in the 2013 competition rule book include a maximum linear dimension (length plus width plus height) of 225 inches, an unmodified OS 0.61 FX engine, and the restriction that no fiber-reinforced plastics can be used as construction materials. The planes also have to take off within 200 feet and land within 400 feet.