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2017 Rules & Regulations

The Challenge:

Students will design and construct an electric-powered model aircraft to fly a tethered flight of at least two laps without cargo, followed by a second tethered flight of more than two consecutive laps carrying as much cargo as possible. Both flights will use power supplied by a power pole, limited by the maximum output of the transformer, Kelvin Digital Power Supply #841051 (rated 0-16 volts at 1.5 amps).

Engineering Team Requirements:
Each team may consist of 1 to 4 students. Teams will compete in one of two divisions:  middle school (for students in grades 6-9) or high school (for students in grades 9-12).  Ninth grade student participation will be determined by the grade levels their particular school serves: Students in schools that serve grades X-9, will compete in the middle school division.  Students in schools that serve grades 9-12 will compete in the high school division.  There is no limit to the number of teams a school may have, but each team is limited to one airplane.

Challenge Components:
Registered teams will demonstrate their engineering design skills at our upcoming LEAF Challenge at the Museum of Flight.  Check the LEAF STEM Challenge web site for this year’s competition date.

This challenge involves three components:
  •        Visual Display
  •      Interview
  •      Performance Demonstration

See the Evaluation Criteria document and the accompanying rubrics for specific criteria.

Design & Construction Standards:

Teams must use an electric motor (Kelvin #850647, #851950 or TeacherGeek #1821-70) and are limited to one motor per airplane. The motor must be installed in the airplane so as to be visible to the judges on the day of the competition.
Teams may use any non-metallic propeller and/or hub.
Cargo may not have lift-increasing or drag-reducing properties for the airplane as a whole.
No lighter-than-air devices are permitted.
The length, width, or height of the aircraft and cargo may not exceed 36 inches in any direction.
·  A 16-V power pole (Kelvin #851508 or #851956) and connection via alligator clips will be provided. [Teams may use a lower cost DIY power pole and/or substitute power supply for classroom practice if desired (available in the Resource section)]
Commercial kits are NOT permitted.

Visual Displays:
Visual Displays are due the date of the Fly-Off.  See Engineering Team Requirements above to determine the competition division for 9th grade students.  See the Visual Display rubrics for more details.

Interview:
Representatives from each team will answer questions on how the team designed their airplane as well as identify the underlying scientific principles of their team’s cargo plane.  See the Interview rubric for more details.

Performance Demonstration Guidelines:

The airplane must fly two or more consecutive, successful laps while tethered, first with the plane empty, then with cargo.
o   A lap is considered successful if the airplane flies a complete circle above 20cm (8 inches) from the floor in under two minutes (including time to set up).
o   Tethers must be long enough so that the distance from the power pole's center point to the plane's centerline is 2.5m (8 feet) when the plane is tethered. (The flight circle radius, therefore, is 2.5m.)
• Power will be supplied by the power pole (Kelvin # 851508 or #851956) and 16V digital power supply (Kelvin # 841051).  Both the power pole and power supply will provided at the fly-off event.   Teams may use a lower cost DIY power pole and/or substitute power supply for classroom practice if desired (available in the Resource section).
·       Airplanes with competition penalties may still compete, but will be ranked below those teams without violations.  Airplanes with construction violations will be given an opportunity to correct them before flying.
·    Teams may make as many attempts as time allows, but no more than two minutes will be allowed for any one attempt.

NOTE:  Judges have full authority to interpret the letter and spirit of the rules.

Point Values:

Visual Display- 25 points
Interview- 25 points
Performance Demonstration- 50 points.

A detailed outline of each component is provided in the Evaluation Criteria document.



Notes to Students

·  Form a team of interested students or friends. Each team must have at least one adult coach who can help and advise and who will serve as point of contact with event organizers and your team.  A single adult may coach more than one team.
Plan the timing of the project. Make sure everyone knows the due date for the written report and recognizes that all major development work should be finished before then.
Consult textbooks, Internet, and other resources.
Test and improve the design.
Keep careful records of meetings and working drawings and share responsibility for different sections of the final report.

Notes to Adults

The majority of the work on all phases of the project is to be done by students.
Limit adult assistance to mentoring students, teaching principles applicable to the project, assisting in production of the report and drawings, overseeing manufacture of the project, performing any process that may pose a safety hazard to students, etc.
During the design and testing phase, guidance should be in the form of questions to promote creative thinking by the students.