Sunday, April 22, 2018

Drone delight: Imagination takes flight as model aircraft create a good buzz

New Delhi: Amid the grey of impending rain, there were flashes of colour in the sky over IIT Delhi on Saturday. And amid the constant drone of model aircraft, fingers deftly juggled the radio control though the eyes were firmly fixed on the flying objects flying high at the 5th Boeing-IIT National Aeromodelling Competition, which had 1,281 participants representing over 250 institutions.
According to Boeing, the international aircraft manufacturing giant that organised the event, there was a “substantive increase in the number of participants from last year and the first ever participation of an international team from Iowa State University, USA”.
The pilots were on the ground, using 2.4 GHz radio transmitters. “The wind made it difficult to control the planes in the air but we somehow managed successfully,” beamed Keshav S, member of the IISc, Bengaluru, team.
Over 400 teams participated in the first round in the IIT zones of Kanpur, Madras, Kharagpur and Bombay. The top three teams from each zone came to Delhi. In the zonal round, the teams were asked to develop a model and keep it in flight for at least 20 seconds. In another stage, the aircraft had to carry a payload and put it down on a marked point and then pass through three obstacles. In the finals, the teams were asked to manoeuvre the planes through gates.
Keshav explained that his group used corrugated plastic and balsa wood because these are light and easy to control. In case of a crash, the students had adhesive tapes ready for repairs.
A four-member team from Chandigarh University won the first prize. Among institutional competitors from the IITs, IISc and the universities from Allahabad, Chandigarh and Nagpur, there were a couple of school students too. Syed Rayan, a Class XII student from Chennai, said living near an airbase had attracted him to aircraft. “I decided to make some model planes on my own,” he said. Rayan, who wants to become an engineer, learned the craft of making planes from the internet and used wood for his projects.
Another student, MP Abhilash, a Class XI student from Tiruchirappalli and the youngest participant in the event, said that he practised manoeuvres with a self-built plane on his school grounds while preparing for his first competition.
22/04/18 Mohammad Ibrar/Times of India