The Michigan Vertical Flight Technology Team was awarded 1st-place in the first round of the Vertical Flight Society’s Design-Build-Vertical Flight student competition. The team offers undergraduate students hands-on experience with sustainable vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VTOL) with a focus on Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technology. This technology uses highly automated aircraft to operate and transport passengers at lower altitudes within urban and suburban areas.
The pandemic introduced challenges. The co-founder and president, Parker Trombley recalls that “communication was a major concern coming into this school year, but we were extremely proud of how quickly our team adapted to online meetings and communication with advice from our technical faculty advisor, Professor Carlos Cesnik. Virtual collaboration is much more difficult than being able to be in the same room as each other. Parker shared the team’s biggest challenge, “We faced some serious manufacturing delays due to temporary facility shutdowns, but the team put in impressive hours during February, March, and April to finish the competition aircraft on time.”
Until last year, they operated independently, building aircraft to learn what it would be like to compete. Last year, their idea for a competition turned into reality, when their proposal to the Vertical Flight Society was adopted into an officially sanctioned competition. They overcame their biggest challenge by building their largest aircraft ever, a tilt-rotor tricopter with a blended wing body. We cannot wait to see what they will build next!
Parker Trombley is in his fourth year of his Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and is interested in entrepreneurship, project management, and systems engineering. He is the president and co-founder of the Michigan Vertical Flight Technology Team. You can follow MVFT on Instagram @michiganvft, Twitter @UM_MVFT and LinkedIn: @Michigan Vertical Flight Technology.