UA Engineering Students to Compete in Aircraft Contest

Team members Chaize DeSio, front, and Blaine Perry work in space provided for the team in Hardaway Hall.
Team members Chaize DeSio, front, and Blaine Perry work in space provided for the team in Hardaway Hall.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A team of 14 University of Alabama students will travel to Tucson, Ariz., to compete in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Design/Build Fly completion April 19-21.

For the competition the team built a small plane made of balsa wood and carbon fiber plates and rods. The plane must be capable of performing three separate stealth missions.

“The first mission is to build a plane that flies as fast as possible in as many laps as possible in four minutes,” Team Co-Captain Chaize DeSio said.

The second mission is to carry onboard as many “internal stores,” or small plastic rockets that each weigh a quarter of a pound, as possible. The third mission also requires the team to carry the rockets, but adhering to five separate, prearranged configurations for the placement of the rockets.

“We’re having a smaller plane, but hopefully we’ll fly very fast,” said Courtney Kronenberger, team co-captain. “We’ll lack in mission two, but we hope to excel highly in missions one and three.”

The team is sponsored by the SGA, the Alabama Space Grant Consortium and Dynetics.

Dr. Thomas A. Zeiler, associate professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics, is the team’s adviser. Zeiler is the director for this senior design course and assists the team during production.

The AIAA is a professional society founded in 1963 for the purpose of advancing aerospace science, engineering, technology, operations and policy.

UA’s team consists of aerospace engineering majors:

  • Will Bowen, a junior from Madison
  • Matt Bradt, a senior from Waterford, N.Y.
  • Tyler Brooker, a senior from Demopolis
  • Corey Brown, a junior from Huntsville
  • Chris Cottingham, a senior from Shreveport, La.
  • Ethan Cross, a senior from Birmingham
  • Chaize DeSio, a senior from Chesapeake, Va.
  • Austin Duke, a senior from Ringgola, Ga.
  • Chris Goodeaux, a senior from Missouri City, Texas
  • Dylan Jaksich, a freshman from Franklin, Tenn.
  • Amber Kaderbek, a senior from Brownsboro
  • Courtney Kronenberger, a senior from Daphne
  • Blaine Perry, a senior from Cullman
  • Nathan Petty, a senior from Mobile
  • Tyler Upchurch, a senior from Hoover

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 3,900 students and more than 110 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Mitchell, Portz and Truman scholars.


Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444,; Judah Martin, engineering student writer,