Team Calgary Flies High, Navigates COVID to Win SAE AEROCONNECT Challenge
The inaugural SAE AeroConnect Challenge™ was just over a week away. As a team of engineering students from the University of Calgary prepared to travel to California to participate in the competition, COVID-19 hit—putting a halt to their plans and potentially canceling the event.
As the news settled, the team was faced with uncertainties—will there be a competition at all? Will they be able to travel? If the event moves completely online what will it mean for their design? Even with all the challenges, the team kept their sights set on competing at AeroConnect. This proved to be more difficult than they anticipated.
Feeling overwhelmed and shorthanded, they knew they needed more help. They started to recruit more students so they could better address their design problems. With a larger team, they eventually decided to split the focus into two groups, one for mechanical design and the other for electrical/software design. After both teams finished their designs, they began to prepare for the competition.
The transition to an online event caused them to completely re-evaluate their strategy. They spent weeks practicing their delivery, transition, and timing. Leaving nothing to chance, they exceeded their own expectations when the day of competition arrived. After the scores were tallied, they found out they won their first competition.
The team reflected on their ability to navigate all of the uncertainty surrounding AeroConnect. When obstacles occur, rather than giving up, this team remained laser focused on the end goal. And that was to come home with their first competition win…mission accomplished!