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Source: B. Terry Beck, 785-532-2604,
News release prepared by: Tyler Sharp, 785-532-2535,

Monday, May 2, 2011


MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University engineering design team is again one of the nation's best.

The SAE Aero Design Team's model aircraft, the Purple Albatross, placed second overall in the regular class event in the recent SAE Aero West Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. The international event had 34 teams participating. K-State has finished in the top 10 of the competition for seven consecutive years. The team's aircraft also placed third in maximum payload by carrying a load of 28.72 pounds -- a team record.

"I'm extremely proud of the way this team has developed since K-State first entered the competition some 10 years ago," said B. Terry Beck, team adviser and professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering. "These students provide an outstanding example of the type of professionalism and dedication that we would like all of our engineering students to emulate."

The Aero Design Team is a student-led extracurricular organization at K-State. The team's objective for competitions is to design and build a radio-controlled model aircraft that can successful takeoff within 200 feet, fly a complete circuit with a maximum payload, and land within 400 feet. SAE International, an engineering and technical expert organization for the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle industries, sponsors the competitions.

Students are able to join the team at any time in their academic career. This allows for multiple years of experience for several team members. Beck would like for such student involvement to continue to develop in the future.

Team members include:

Christopher James, senior in mechanical engineering, Augusta; Adam Chesterman, senior in mechanical engineering, Dodge City; Kelly Jones, senior in mechanical engineering, Douglass; Janessa Wedel, senior in mechanical engineering and team leader, Goessel; Joshua Goertz, senior in mechanical engineering, and Christopher Johnston, sophomore in animal sciences and industry, both from Newton; Erik Hellmer, senior in mechanical engineering, Overland Park; Jon Albrecht, senior in mechanical engineering, Salina; and Robert Reagan, sophomore in mechanical engineering, Shawnee.

From out of country: Vishrut Patel, senior in mechanical engineering, India.