Engineering Students win honors at Boeing Flight Competition 

Undergraduate engineering students from Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach.

Embry-Riddle engineering students took home several awards in the Boeing Flight Competition at the 42nd Annual National Society of Black Engineers Convention in Boston March 23-27. 

During the Boeing Flight Competition, Daytona Beach undergraduate students competed against 29 other university teams to design gliders made out of balsa wood. The entries were judged on distance flown, best team participation and design.

During The Boeing Company's Flight Competition, ERAU’s three teams won:

  • 1st in Presentation and Design Award
  • 2nd in Presentation and Design Award
  • 3rd in Presentation and Design Award
  • 1st in Flight Distance Award
  • 2nd in Flight Distance Award
  • 1st in the Overall team Award

The teams, which spent months building the gliders and testing aerodynamics, won a total of $4,600 in prizes, which will go to the National Society of Black Engineers chapter at ERAU for future projects and conventions.

For the flight distance, Embry-Riddle’s team flew its glider 173 feet, coming in just shy of the 189-foot record held since 2008.

Embry-Riddle student Jon Willems, the team lead for the flight competition, said his team worked closely with flight instructor Patrick Metzger to design the gliders. The teams included Isani Velasquez, Christian Pierre, Jeffrey Lewis, Marcus Maiten, Ayanna Crear, Naia Butler-Craig and Kevin Rolle.

“In terms of what this means for Riddle, I think this is a tremendous display of our dominance in aerospace engineering,” Willems said. “By sweeping this competition the way that we did, we showed the other 28 universities that Embry-Riddle is a force to be reckoned with.”

The convention also provided an opportunity for students to network with industry leaders from companies such as Toyota, Boeing, Delta Air Lines and Caterpillar. Eight students received engineering internship offers and several others made valuable connections with industry leaders, said Kenneth Hunt, associate director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Embry-Riddle. 

“The significant qualities of a good leader include enthusiasm, passion and energy,” Hunt said. “I was fortunate to witness all of these characteristics in our students during the NBSE conference/Boeing Gilder competition. Overall, it was dynamic experience for everyone.”