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JPL Annual 2003 Invention Challenge Results Gallery
Entry 5
 
 
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Comments

As always, your challenge was a great event. It got the creative juices flowing and produced lots of interesting ideas. Perhaps the Wright Turn would have had a greater diversity of designs if the teams could have used their own launcher. Fewer restrictions can result in more ideas. Also, the afternoon breezes added an unwanted element of randomness to the contest. Would it be possible to use the Von Karmen Auditorium for the next such event?

My original (and final) design featured electronic timers and servos to separately control the two wing flaps/ailerons. The timing was controlled by two rows of DIP switches. A pendulum switch initiated the timing sequence at launch time. However, I made a fatal error at the very beginning; the wing area was too small (.4 square feet), and/or the glider was too heavy (3 oz.).

Testing was done at the freeway park on Foothill Blvd., where the ground was soft and bad landings were not harmful. The last week consisted of a frantic (but largely useless) effort to lower the weight and improve the efficiency of the glider.

If you were to run the same challenge again, I would double the wing area and use the same controls.

Thanks for running this event.
 
 
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Jet Propulsion Laboratory National Aeronautics and Space Administration California Institute of Technology