Students build 2-meter-wide glider in student accommodation during lockdown

A group of engineering students built a 2.2-meter-wide glider in their student accommodation during lockdown.

While most students are affected by the lockdown, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) aerospace engineering group of students.

The 16-person team designed an 11-meter-wide piloted glider that would fly at 20 knots and planned to use the facilities at the University’s new engineering center to build the aircraft before the restrictions of Covid- 19 interrupt access to the campus.

Development manager Louis Frommweiler, 20, from Strasbourg, France, said: was a fifth of the original size as that would still cover the project dossier and we could build it in our accommodation.

“A few of us live together, so our apartment has become a workshop and the kitchen table has become a workbench. We had to change our planned materials which meant we used a lot of 3D printing, our manuals became weights and many of the team went to town to buy pliers and drill bits to do it function.

The group’s 2.2-meter-wide glider made its maiden flight successfully last week in the UCLan flight test area near Inskip.

Design manager Alex Child-Morris of Brighouse was responsible for remotely piloting the glider and explained how the team was still working on the aircraft as it was transferred to the launch rail.

The 22-year-old said: “We still had a few last minute changes to make at the airfield. We had our trusty “workshop in a bag” so we were like an F1 team in drilling, screwing and sawing.

“It was great to see him soar because we knew we would have overcome so many challenges to get there. As engineers, it’s our job to find solutions to problems, so we’re delighted that our forced changes worked as intended.

The original glider was reportedly flown by Dr Abdullah Desai, head of the aerospace engineering and pilot studies course at UCLan.

He said: “I was so confident in their abilities that I said I would use my pilot’s license to fly their glider.

“I was delighted to see how they responded to the challenges imposed on them by the national lockdown.

“They excelled, making sure they met the specifications and thus became the very first UCLan student-led team to design and fly an aircraft.

“It was a fantastic achievement and I’m immensely proud of each of them. ”

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