Cal Poly Places First and Second at AIAA Design Competition

September 18, 2013

Contact: Amy Hewes

Cal Poly aerospace seniors won first- and second-place awards in the 2012-13 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation (AIAA) Undergraduate Team Aircraft Design competition in early September.

The winning entries extend more than a decade of remarkable Cal Poly finishes in this competition, considered the most prestigious national collegiate contest in the aeronautical engineering design industry.

Led by faculty advisors Bruce Wright and Robert McDonald, the Cal Poly teams won for their designs of a regional-sized commercial airliner powered by hybrid electric propulsion and advanced modular batteries. The teams were required to “determine if hybrid technology offers fuel burn, cost, noise, or emissions advantages over conventional propulsion.”

The first-place winner, Team Transformers Aviation, received a $1,500 award from the AIAA Foundation for its design of the Optimus, which uses two advanced inboard gasoline engines supplemented by two highly efficient outboard electric motors. Team members included Adam Darley, San Diego; Rene Farfan, Oxnard, Calif.; Trevor Goehring, Oak Park, Calif.; Chris Ostrom, San Luis Obispo; and Samson Truong, Palmdale, Calif.

Second place and a $750 award went to Team ChimAira for the design of the Hybrid Electric Regional Commuter Parallax. Team members included Tony Cash, San Bruno, Calif.; Arexy Monterroso, Los Angeles; Philip Osterkamp, San Luis Obispo; Abe Shabbar, Atascadero; and Rick Stebbins, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

“Cal Poly brought together the perfect blend of academic and industry strengths to guide and direct the aircraft design class,” said Wright of Cal Poly’s unprecedented success at the competition. “Design entails the combination of basic and applied theory and advanced technologies. All of these exist at Cal Poly by combining the talents and backgrounds of the teachers, advisors, and selected teacher assistants from previous design classes.”

The $500 third-place award went to Team CARRL from Georgia Institute of Technology for its design of the Clean Air Rapid Regional Link.

More information on the AIAA Undergraduate Team Aircraft Design Competition is available at


Image caption: The Optimus envisioned by Cal Poly’s Team Transformers Aviation.


Tags: aero