NFC contest showcases innovative UAV designs

Every two years, the international student contest "New Flying Competition" (NFC) is dedicated to the design of flying models that investigate key aspects of the future of flight. The idea for the competition came from Prof Detlef Schulze from the Department of Automotive Engineering & Aircraft Construction at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg. Six teams came to Hamburg in September 2022 from afar afield as Mexico, Denmark, Czech Republic and Serbia. Two teams from Germany also participated. The NFC is organised by Head of Competition Ajla Osmanović and her team.

While the competitions in 2016 and 2018 were focused on aircraft designs for commercial aviation, the focus in 2020 and 2022 was on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). For NFC 2022, students were tasked with developing an aircraft that can take off and land vertically and perform a search mission. The search mission was divided into an outbound and return flight of 5000m each and included a search for distinctive objects on the ground distributed across an area 1200m x 400m. In addition, a box of 2kg, known in its dimensions, had to be transported. The flight altitude was roughly 60m. The flights were hosted by Luftsportverein Günther Groenhoff e.V. in Stade near Hamburg.

The defending champions from NFC 2020 from the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg were the only ones to complete the entire search mission and so defended their title. This was not only due to the successful localisation of the search objects on the ground, but also due to a lightweight and energy-efficient design.

The design of the UAV was checked for airworthiness one day earlier during the safety check at the Centre for Applied Aeronautical Research. Submitted UAVs were screened by a jury of aviation experts headed by Dr. Christoph Heß. In addition, the teams had to present their models to the jury as well as to the participating competitors, which led to a professional exchange about the different approaches and designs.

The competition was also accompanied by social evenings, a sightseeing tour through Hamburg City as well as factory tours at Airbus in Finkenwerder and Lufthansa Technik at Hamburg Airport. Both companies have sponsored the competition since 2016. This year's premium sponsor was Henkel AG.

via: ZAL