Currently, Lehigh AIAA has three major projects in progress. Students from the branch dedicate their time outside of classes to bringing these projects to fruition, gaining valuable experience not only in engineering, but project management, finances, and execution. Projects for the 2014-2015 academic year are:
American Helicopter Society Micro Air Vehicle Student Challenge Entry
Students from the branch have been working to design a vehicle for the AHS MAV competition since September. The competition pits university teams against one another in the completion of an aerial target search mission using remote or autonomous control. All vehicles must be able to take off, navigate to a search area, locate a target, and land again, and they must do so either autonomously or with an onboard camera system. The Lehigh AIAA entry is a small quadcopter built on a uniaxial carbon fiber frame; it has an onboard camera capable of transmitting video over a 2.4 GHz radio connection to ground operator. The team is looking forward to the final competition, to be held in Virginia Beach this May.
Lehigh AIAA is also working to design and build a highly realistic flight simulation environment. Equipped with wrap-around monitors and virtual displays, the simulator will provide valuable flight experiences to students involved in the aviation and aerospace programs at Lehigh University.
Members of Lehigh AIAA are working to renovate the turbojet engine on display outside Packard 101. The engine, currently in a somewhat derlict state, is a General Electric J-35, which has the distinction of being the first axial-flow turbine engine produced in the United States. The J-35 powered the first American jet aircraft from the 1940's into the early 50's, such as the F-84 Thunderjet, the F-89 Scorpion, and even the prototype for the F-86 Sabre. Lehigh AIAA plans to install an interactive, educational display and a new lighting system to illuminate engine components and assemblies.