Monday, October 12, 2015

It is a ‘Game of Drones’ as students bag laurels abroad

Aero clubs from various colleges win prizes at competitions in the US

MUMBAI: For decades, aviation experts in India have rued India’s inability in producing planes and its makers. Even as the country continues to buy most of its aircraft from foreign aircraft makers, a small but promising culture emerging in city engineering colleges appears to be a ray of hope.
Fed by a rising wave of international aero design competitions, aspiring aeronautical engineers are forming ‘aero clubs’ to make their own flying machines.
Students of Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Matunga, established one such ‘aero club’ in 2010. The club, named Aero VJTI has so far sent four teams to the aero design competition held in the US and won some prizes, said students.
“Over the years, our club has become very good in aircraft designing. VJTI also has a windtunnel lab for those interested in research in the field of aeronautics,” said Darshit Dalal, a member of the club.
The Aero Design competition, held annually in the United States by the Society of Automotive Engineers, has found a number of takers among city’s engineering colleges. Students are tasked to make their own Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) at the competition.
These clubs also help students apply their minds beyond the curriculum. “The problems presented to us in the aero design competition are very real. The UAVs and the aircraft technology has wide application in many fields,” said Akib Peerzade, a former member of ‘Team Aerosouls’ at the MH Saboo Siddik College of Engineering at Byculla.
According t o Peerzade, Aerosouls was the very first Indian team to compete and win in the advanced category at the competition.
Students added that juggling time for such activities along with their studies has been a challenge.
Funding is one of the biggest challenges, felt students. While many colleges and sponsors provide monetary assistance to the competing teams, the students often have to fund their trip to US.
“Initially, the funding was a problem. But as we progressed, the college realised the importance of our work and helped us generously. But once we won prizes at the competition and were featured in the newspapers, the funds started pouring in,” added Peerzade.

Source: The Hindustan Times dated 12/10/2015

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