MITRE Sponsors Student Project of Prototype Plane using 3D Printing

When University of Virginia engineering students posted a YouTube video last spring of a plastic turbofan engine they had designed and built using 3-D printing technology, they didn’t expect it to lead to anything except some page views.
But executives at The MITRE Corporation, a McLean-based federally funded research and development center with an office in Charlottesville, saw the video and sent an announcement to the School of Engineering and Applied Science that they were looking for two summer interns to work on a new project involving 3-D printing.

The job was to build over the summer an unmanned aerial vehicle, using 3-D printing technology. In other words, a plastic plane, to be designed, fabricated, built and test-flown between May and August. A real-world engineering challenge, and part of a Department of the Army project to study the feasibility of using such planes.

MITRE Corp. representatives and Army officials observed the fourth flight of the plane recently. They were impressed and asked the students to stay on through this academic year as part-time interns. Their task now is to build an improved plane – lighter, stronger, faster and more easily assembled. The project also is their fourth-year thesis.

See full story at https://news.virginia.edu/content/student-engineers-design-build-fly-printed-airplane