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The 2020-21 Lawrence Technological University Aero team will participate in either the SAE Aero Design® East or West competition in the regular class division. (SAE Aero Design® features three classes of competition: regular, advanced and micro.) The students must navigate the real-life challenges of designing, engineering, building and testing an aircraft built to the competition's requirements. Their challenge is to design, build, test and fly a heavy-lift radio-controlled aircraft.

The team will then test the effectiveness of their aircraft in competition with more than 70 other teams. The students must follow strict guidelines in building a plane that has a high strength-to-weight ratio. Their aircraft then must carry increasingly heavy payloads through several flight rounds. 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. The team hopes to achieve success by engineering a sturdy yet efficient design.

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.

Constraints specified in the competition rule book do not include dimensional requirements for the size of the aircraft. The planes also have to take off within 100 feet and land within 400 feet.