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Global flight of the Phoenix

- NIT model ranks 7th at aero design meet

It’s time to fly high for nine students of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Adityapur.

Phoenix, the group from the tech cradle, ranked seventh among 75 teams from across the world that took part in SAE Aero Design East 2014 held in Georgia, US, from April 11 to 13. Also, of the seven Indian teams that participated at the three-day global meet, the NIT’s remote-controlled aeroplane was the only one to feature among the top 10 models.

The winner was University of Minnesota, followed by Warsaw University of Technology and Georgia University of Technology.

Team Phoenix — represented in Georgia by third-year students Tarun Kedia and Ashish Ranjan — displayed their aeroplane in the micro category. The other two categories at the event were regular and advanced.

“We could not be winners because in the second round of flying, foam from the plane started leaking and we had some landing hiccups,” said Ashish, who is also the vice-captain of Phoenix.

Made of balsa wood, the NIT’s aeroplane model measures 64 inch in width and is 48-inch long. It weighs a kg, but can carry up to 4kg. The aero model can be dismantled into six parts and packed in a box measuring 24x18 inches. A battery-driven plane, it can also fly at a maximum height of 100ft for five minutes.

The manufacturing cost of the model is Rs 25,000, which was borne by sponsors Tata Steel and State Bank of India.

“These kind of planes are specially used for places where humans cannot reach. One can attach surveillance cameras or altimeter to the device. We are thinking of modifying the design to give it more power,” said Tarun.

Back home, the teachers are proud. “Phoenix is one of the great creative teams of NIT-Adityapur and is always on the go to create something new,” said Rajiv Bhushan, professor in-charge (media relations), NIT-Adityapur.