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Posted: Mon 19th Apr 2021

Wrexham university students complete design work for international aviation competition for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Monday, Apr 19th, 2021

Wrexham Glyndŵr University students will test their aeronautical skills in an international drone building competition.

A team of students from the university have submitted their final design report for their unmanned aircraft system which will compete against more than 30 other teams from around the world at the 8th annual UAS Challenge of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

The seven students, under the name of the Red Dragons, have been working to perfect a drone to perform disaster response missions to deliver vital aid to stranded survivors quickly, accurately and safely, even in adverse environmental conditions.

Team leader Lauren Hale, who is studying for an MSc in UAS Technology, said: “We are extremely proud to be representing Wales on a global scale for such forward thinking technology and innovation.

“One of the most adventurous features of our UAS has been our decision to double the cargo carrying capacity on-board with the goal to maximise the number of lives we can potentially save in a single flight.

“Since then,” she continued, “our design has aptly become known as ‘the beast’, as it needs to be larger in size yet must maintain the same 10kg, maximum take-off weight as the other teams in the Challenge”.

The Red Dragons will have until the end of June to build, programme and test fly their UAS solution.

Lauren said ‘We are working with local suppliers who share our ethos for sustainable manufacturing”. The University UAS laboratories, (sponsored by Ad-Manum UAS Technologies Ltd), provides state of the art tools, and aerodynamic testing facilities to ensure the aircraft adheres to the Challenges’ rigorous list of rules.

Launched in 2014, the UAS challenge was formed to develop and inspire the next generation of professional engineers from all over the globe.

Teams are comprised of a group of undergraduates who fully design and build a UAS. The competition undertakes specific mission challenges culminating in a final fly-off in June, followed by a virtual awards ceremony.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for everyone in the UK, and the Red Dragons are no exception. Lauren added that Microsoft Teams “kept the project and team spirit alive”.

She added: “Above all else, our team objective has been to have as much fun through the process as possible. Glyndwr University has recently installed the latest simulation technology, meaning we can all brush up on our piloting skills during our weekly sessions in the lab”.

“One thing we are all looking forward to is a visit to ‘The Crafty Dragon’ in Wrexham to celebrate the progress we have made so far.

“It has been great connecting up with other teams from around the world over social media and it has brought out the competitive spirit in all of us.”

Robert Bolam, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, said: “I am really impressed with the excellent standard of the Red Dragon’s final design report and the way in which the team have pulled together, under such trying circumstances, to meet this competition deadline.

“The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ UAS Challenge is a prestigious international competition and it is entered by many of the top UK Universities.

“This year the Glyndwr team have submitted a fantastic design which they have created under the great Team Leadership provided by Glyndwr MSc student Lauren Hale with project supervision and guidance from Glyndwr Alumni Jon Laughton.  Pob lwc y Dreigiau Coch!”

Find the team on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter @RedDragonsUAV

To learn more about studying for an MSc in Unmanned Aircraft System Technology, visit the university’s website.

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