First-time Purdue teams place at NSBE flight competition

Interdisciplinary teams from Purdue won the second and third place prizes for their presentations.

AAE head Bill Crossley stands with Purdue NSBE members who competed in the Boeing flight competition

Purdue University took three teams to the 2024 National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Convention in Atlanta to compete in the Boeing Flight Competition, with the objective of building a balsa wood glider to carry two quarters while flying the longest distance. 

This was the first time Purdue student teams participated in this competition, says Dr. Jessica Perkins, senior recruitment and retention analyst in Purdue's Minority Engineering Program (MEP). Perkins supported the teams both in West Lafayette and at the NSBE Convention in Atlanta.

One of the Purdue teams was guaranteed entry, and one of the two teams wait-listed was selected to compete at the convention. Teams held a technical presentation the day before the flight component of the competition.

The Boiler Wings team standing with a large novelty check for $600

The team Boiler Wings, with team members Olan Sodunke (ME), Patrick Thomspon (AAE), Andrew Cuello (AAE) and Muyi Arowolo (AAE), finished seventh in the flight distance component and second in the technical presentation component. Their second-place presentation earned the team a $600 prize.

The Purdue Skywalkers team placed fourth in the flight distance component and third in the technical presentation competition. Teammates Mozen Mertami (BME), Kaleia Maxey (IE), Yasar Dambo (ChE) and Nic Konoma (AAE) received a prize of $400 for placing in the presentation component.

The Purdue Skywalkers team stand with a large novelty check for $400

The third team, Glidermakers, included Adam Bullock (AAE), Sam Morales (AAE), Julian Torres-Corral (FYE) and Everett Lamberson.  Glidermakers constructed a glider, prepared a presentation, and traveled to Atlanta in hopes they would be selected off the waitlist and be able to compete.  

Bill Crossley, the Uhrig & Vournas head of Aeronautics and Astronautics, served as faculty advisor for the teams and attended the conference with them. Tom Bietsch, the department’s senior design-build-test engineer, helped the teams with the design, construction and testing of the gliders in West Lafayette. 

Publish date: April 5, 2024