Concrete (RC) Airplane 'Flies' (With Video)
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) said earlier this month that students there had created and flown a small remote control aircraft made of concrete, but their level of success may be open to interpretation. The aircraft had a wingspan of 40 inches and weighed 18 pounds. A news release from the school notes "viral" coverage of the event. It also states that the "flight was quick and wobbly with the landing equally erratic, but it was enough for the record books." After viewing video of the flight, it may not be clear that the vehicle's return to earth can be categorized as a "landing." The concrete plane isn't the first of its kind.
The project follows a path initiated by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and overseen by Dr. Mark Fugler, there. The ERAU aircraft, also a small remote controlled plane, was destroyed in a crash. SDSMT is not an aeronautical university. "Ours flew and sustained some damage on landing but was not destroyed," according to Mines advisor M.R. Hansen. The school's news release also concedes that "once the wheels were off the ground it was over in a matter of mere seconds, thanks to weight-balance issues associated with flying any plane." The concrete was made with carbon fiber reinforcement. The wing was built hollow around a foam core and suffered a crack, along with the fuselage, upon its return to earth. "Landing wasn't as big of a priority," said the aircraft's remote pilot David Haberman. Haberman designed and built the aircraft with fellow students Tyler Pojanowski and Seth Adams, all of whom recently graduated from the school.