The RIT Aero Design Club is the premier student run aerospace club on campus and is open to all RIT students interested in the design, fabrication, and flight of scale-sized aircraft. The club competes annually in various student design competitions from the AIAA to the SAE. Additionally they have supported, or been members of, numerous multidisciplinary senior design projects focused on the development of an open source, open architecture UAV for remote Imaging Science Applications. The club also offers periodic indoor “Fly-ins” in the Gordon Field House that is open to RIT students as well as the local community.
The Aero Design Club also offers a one credit free elective course, Model Aircraft Fabrication Lab (0304.360), for any undergraduate student interested in learning the basics of model aircraft construction. It covers usage of common model aircraft construction tools, materials and techniques. Students in this lab are guided through construction of a small balsa wood aircraft and gain an appreciation for working with the lightweight and often fragile components involved. Emphasis is placed on craftsmanship and attention to detail to create a successful aircraft. By completing this lab, students gain an appreciation for the inherent complexity of aircraft and a basic understanding of their structure and construction. This lab is generally completed by undergraduates during their second or third year of study. Students who are interested in continuing to learn about model aircraft are encouraged to join RIT’s Aero Design Team. Dr. Jason Kolodziej manages this lab along with the students in the Aero Design Club.
The Aero Design Club meets Saturday mornings during the academic year. Interested students can find more details on club website, http://aerodesign.rit.edu.
The lab is fully equipped for aircraft rapid prototyping using a VersaLASER VLS3.50 programmable laser cutter. This station has already served numerous aero graduate/senior student projects, as well as, competition aircraft designs. Additionally, the lab has a complete set of wood-working tools and adhesives, which have been used to fabricate numerous aircraft, as well as production templates and jigs. All of the necessary equipment for hot-wire foam cutting and vacuum bagging is present along with a complete set of foam core finishing and mold making materials. This enables the production of wings and molds with glass-smooth surface finishes, which are necessary to make use of laminar flow airfoils common in low-speed applications.