Butler Rural Electric Cooperative is supporting part of a solar airplane project with mechanical engineering students at Miami University with a $2,500 donation for the plane’s parts and technology. The cooperative has a long-standing relationship with Miami University, which allows the cooperative to stay informed on environmental issues. Miami University has completed several projects for the cooperative in the past that focused on radon gas, dual fuel, geothermal, and solar energy.
The group has been building the aircraft throughout the past two semesters. The solar-powered plane will feature autopilot and GPS capabilities, a video camera, and a glow stick dropping mechanism with an air-to-ground transmitter. The team hopes the plane is a competitive entry at the Midwest Unarmed Aircraft Systems design competition in May. The competition presents students of all disciplines and levels of experience with relevant real-world challenges to spur creativity.
The team plans to utilize different skills of each member, which includes circuitry, 3D modeling, programming, building experience, and knowledge from previous class work.