Cooper Students Compete in the 2024 AIAA Design/Build/Fly Competition

POSTED ON: May 17, 2024


2023-24 Cooper AIAA Team.

2023-24 Cooper AIAA

Left to right: Kevin Luo ME’24, Shreyas Krishnan ME’25, Andrew Kim ChE’25, Prof. Dirk M Luchtenburg, Daniil Teteryatnik ME’24, Emily Zao ME’24, Evan Lutchmidat ME’24, and Scott Losirisup ME’24.


Cooper's Design for the AIAA Design/Build/Fly Competition.

Cooper engineering students Scott Losirisup ME’24, Daniil Teteryatnik ME’24, Kevin Luo ME’24, Evan Lutchmidat ME’24, Andrew Kim ChE’25, Emily Zao ME’24, Shreyas Krishnan ME’25, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dirk M. Luchtenburg competed in the 2024 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design/Build/Fly competition hosted by Textron Aviation in Wichita, Kansas.

The AIAA is the world’s largest aerospace technical society, and its Design/Build/Fly competition is an international RC airplane building contest where teams design, build, and fly an airplane from scratch. This year, 93 university teams, including Cooper Union and renowned schools like Hong Kong University and MIT, were invited to participate. Each year, AIAA sets new missions, requiring teams to construct a new aircraft optimized to complete these specific challenges.

This year’s flight objective was to design, build, and test a remotely operated radio-controlled airplane for Urban Air Mobility. The airplane needed to be capable of conducting a delivery flight, a medical transport flight, and an urban taxi flight. Teams also performed a ground mission to demonstrate how quickly they could change their aircraft configuration from delivery to medical transport to urban air taxi.

The Cooper Union team successfully took flight, but faced challenges in achieving a stable landing. Determined to improve their performance, the team plans to analyze this year’s challenges in detail, refine their design and testing processes, and incorporate more advanced materials and technologies. 

Students shared the following thoughts on the competition:

"Attending this competition was an amazing opportunity and learning experience for both myself and the team. I had the privilege of meeting and engaging with students from universities across the United States and from countries such as India, China, Turkey, and Australia. As the next president, I hope to compete again next year and provide other Cooper students with the chance to partake in this wonderful experience." – Shreyas Krishnan ME'25

“The AIAA Design Build Fly journey, from conceptual design to manufacturing and flying out to Kansas to fly our plane was a unique experience, is one unlike any of my previous three years at Cooper. The small team and small school dynamic truly unveiled itself with the team being marginally undersized resulting in countless hours dedicated to making this plane a reality. In the end, teamwork prevailed and one of the lighter planes made of full carbon fiber was brought to the competition by Cooper Union. While competition did not go smooth, the experience from iteratively fixing the plane from a flawed manufactured state to a flying form taught the team a lot and provides insight into the future of the team for next year to succeed!” – Evan Lutchmidat ME’24

"Participating in the AIAA Design Build Fly competition was an unforgettable experience filled with teamwork and innovation. Flying to Wichita and competing against 107 international teams allowed us to apply our technical knowledge in a real-world setting. As one of the founders of the club, I am proud to have contributed to Cooper Union's future in the aerospace community." – Scott Losirisup ME'24

"It was incredible to meet all those teams and check out their planes during the competition. Comparing manufacturing methods and materials with other teams was pretty neat too. But the best part was definitely seeing our own plane fly after putting in all that work throughout the year." – Emily Zao ME’24

“Attending the 2024 AIAA Design Build Fly Competition solidified our underclassmen's interest in continuing the competition and pursuing aerospace engineering. Bringing an aircraft and being invited to the competition in its first year competing allowed Cooper to make itself known to other engineering schools. Interacting with other university teams was immensely beneficial in expanding our engineering knowledge and prowess, including lessons learned only through experience. The competition has been highly enlightening, amplifying my passion for engineering and proving that when we put our minds to it, we can design, build, and fly anything." – Kevin Luo ME’24

“My trip to Kansas with the AIAA team is one of the best memories I have at The Cooper Union because of the camaraderie we built as we all put our souls into our plane. This trip was a much-needed break from having my head in textbooks all semester and getting hands on with what I feel is the most real engineering I have ever done.” – Andrew Kim ChE’25

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.