Skip to the content

Kansas State University

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
  1. K-State Home >
  2. Media Relations >
  3. March news releases

Source: Terry Beck, 785-532-2604,
Note to editors: K-State Aero Design team members Esteban Maradona, Samuel Haugland and Dana Bloom did not attend the Aero Design West competition.
Photo available. Contact or 785-532-6415.

Friday, March 27, 2009


MANHATTAN -- For the second time in the last three years, Kansas State University's Aero Design Team has won first place overall in the regular class event at the annual SAE Aero Design Competition West.

This year's competition was March 6-8 in Van Nuys, Calif. K-State was among the 31 teams from around the world participating in the regular class event.

The competition challenges engineering students to plan, design, fabricate and test a radio-controlled aircraft that can take off and land while carrying the maximum cargo.

The K-State team's biplane, The Purple Berserker, won the regular class competition by lifting a 24.7-pound payload. The team also received first place for its Design Book. The team pilot was Billy Edwards from California, who flew for the team during the 2007 SAE Aero West competition, which also resulted in a first-place win for K-State.

This is the third straight year K-State has ranked first among teams from the U.S. at the competition.

"I am so very proud of these kids and all that they have accomplished since K-State first entered the competition nearly nine years ago," said Terry Beck, professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering and the team's faculty adviser. "This is a real testimony to the amount of effort that the team puts into this extracurricular event, to their determination and dedication to task during all phases of the project, and to the fine example of engineering professionalism they exhibited at the competition itself."

The team's next competition will be April 3-5 in Marietta, Ga., at the SAE Aero East. SAE International has more than 121,000 members -- engineers, business executives, educators, and students from more than 97 countries -- who share information and exchange ideas for advancing the engineering of mobility systems. SAE is a resource for standards development, events and technical information and expertise used in designing, building, maintaining and operating self-propelled vehicles for use on land or sea, in air or space.

K-State Aero Team members, all mechanical engineering majors, include:

Esteban Maradona, senior, Delia.

From Greater Kansas City: John Elson, senior, team leader, and Samuel Haugland, freshman, both of Leawood; Gregory Payne, senior, Lenexa; and Erik Hellmer, junior, Overland Park.

Brian Anderson, graduate student, Jamestown; Shane Smith, freshman, Junction City; Michael Mangus, graduate student, Kanorado; Joshua Goertz, sophomore, Christopher Johnston, freshman, and Janessa Wedel, junior and secretary-treasurer, all from Newton; and Matthew Roberts, senior, Pomona, fundraising chair.

From out of state: Dana Bloom, freshman, Las Vegas, Nev.