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Engineering students get high honors in aeronautical competition



(L-R): Andrew Heitmann, Tim McGovern, Angela McLelland, the plane's pilot and professor Brad Bruno
(L-R): Andrew Heitmann, Tim McGovern, Angela McLelland, the plane's pilot and professor Brad Bruno

A team of three seniors had an impressive finish at the annual SAE Aero East Competition, held last weekend in Marietta, Ga., placing fifth in a field of top engineering schools around the world.

Tim McGovern, Angela McLelland and Andrew Heitmann took fifth place overall in their division of the annual engineering competition. The students tied for first in the operational availability category.

The contest had 75 teams from schools around the world, hailing from countries such as Brazil, Poland and Mexico; 47 of those entrants were in Union’s division.

The competition challenged students to build an airplane to lift the maximum possible weight with several constraints. “In addition to being fierce competitors and great sports, our students were excellent ambassadors for Union College in general and Union Mechanical Engineering in particular,” said Brad Bruno, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The four teams that finished ahead of Union’s had significantly more members.

Union’s aircraft was one of only two in its class to have a 100 percent successful flight record in all six rounds of competition. Also, the plane lifted 22 pounds of payload, exactly what matched the students’ engineering predictions for what the plane could safely lift. 

Ashok Ramasubramanian, who is currently on leave, is also a faculty advisor for the team.