Our Design





2011 Plane Design:

             This year the plane design radically departs from the traditional LETU Aero Design approach in certain areas of its design.  For example we are going with a full balsa wood box fuselage, instead of a more traditional fuselage made of wood and aluminum, and collapsible landing gear.  The Rubber Ducky will weigh in at between eight and nine pounds and be poised to hopefully lift the most weight LeTourneau has ever lifted at a competition.

Project Goal:

To place 1st in both the East and West 2011 SAE Aero Design competitions.


The Aero Design West competition will be held March 18th through the 20th, 2011 in Fort Worth, TX; and Aero Design East will be held April 29th through May 1st, 2011in Marietta, Georgia.

 Project Objectives:

  1. Research all potential ideas for use in the design in order to maximize the capabilities of each design aspect.
  2. Design an aircraft that maximizes flight round score by being capable of empty flight and meeting the predicted payload capacity.
  3. Fabricate one (1) prototype and two (2) final aircraft before competition.
  4. Present the final project in both oral and written forms to report the design processes involved and advantages of the aircraft itself.

High Level Deliverables:

  1. Master Project Plan and Detailed Deliverables. 
  2. Fundraising – Market our design to companies and individuals requesting sponsorships. 
  3. Design Decisions – Settle on a design based upon research, calculations, and the SAE standards for the Aero Design competition. Important Decisions include: 
    1. Power Plant 
    2. Airfoil 
    3. Material 
    4. Geometry 
  4. Computer Models and Drawings – Utilize SolidWorks and other CAD programs to gain an accurate visualization of the design. 
  5. Prototype Aircraft -- Fabricate a prototype aircraft based on the current design in order to test its performance and determine if changes are needed. 
    1. Testing 
    2. Revise, alter, and redesign if necessary 
  6. Two Competition Planes – Fabricate two planes for competition based on the final design. 
  7. Written and Oral Reports – Compile the years work into a written report, as well as, prepare and give an oral report. 
  8. Prediction – Make predictions on the performance of the aircraft based on the testing and calculations. 
  9. Competition – Put the final aircraft to the test at the SAE Aero Design Competition and get first place.

Specifications and Target Values:

Target Value
Measurement Verification
Takeoff Zone
200 ft
In accordance with Air Boss at the Aero Design competition.
Landing Zone
400 ft
In accordance with Air Boss at the Aero Design competition.
Circuit Requirement
At least one 360˚ circuit flown around the field
In accordance with Air Boss at the Aero Design competition.
Weight of Payload
Weight scale.
Since no size limit has been specified, weight material now excludes Lead.
Aircraft dimension
L+W+H < 225”
Accuracy of size depends on quality of build. Will be measured with measuring tape after construction and confirmed by officials at competition