BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
A Team Vyoma (Sanskrit for Infinite Covering Surrounding the Earth) is a group of seven young Engineering students from R.V. College of Engineering (RVCE) in Bangalore, India. The team led by Dr. Ravi Kulkarni was in Atlanta to participate in an international aero-design contest conducted by AERODESIGN, the student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), co-hosted by Lockheed Martin and NASA held between April 3rd and 5th. The first day of the competition at Kennesaw State University involved lecture demo while second and third days which comprised of flying the aircraft with different loads was at flying field in Acworth, Georgia. The amazing truth behind the team is that none of the students belong to aeronautical engineering but hail from different disciplines. Students from other colleges in Karnataka and Delhi also participated in the competition. Nearly 65 teams from all over the world took part in the event. Team Vyoma, along with other Indian students embodies the bright, talented and vibrant youth of the country that reaches out for nothing less than the blue skies.
Doo Technologies is the major sponsor of Team Vyoma donating about 12000 dollars followed by RVCE which donated about 4000 dollars. Nrupatunga Kannada Koota (NKK) members volunteered food and transportation services to all members of team Vyoma during their stay in Atlanta.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Vyoma II, the brain child of Team Vyoma was created keeping in mind its scientific relevance in the global scenario as a research and development project. The design technology can be used in a variety of applications such as disaster management and atmospheric sampling. Sridhar, a team member explains that Avionics was also incorporated on the UAV to improve controllability and other testing sensors. They ranked 20th among the 40 teams in the Open Class category. Participants are given an option of competing in one of 3 different categories namely, the Open, Regular and Micro Class. The objective of Open Class is to design an aircraft that can lift as much weight as possible given the gross weight design constraint. Open Class teams will simulate a heavy-lift aircraft taking off from an undeveloped airstrip with limited power.
Team Vyoma over came several challenges such as lack of vendors supplying aeronautical components, specialized wood, lack of wind tunnel, lack of air fields to test the prototypes etc. The significance of the effort lies in the fact that the entire airframe design was simulated on a computer with no wind tunnel testing and yet worked flawlessly at show time.
The team tells us that they had participated in the competition in 2008 also. At the time, they were the first team from Asia to be part of this global event and Vyoma I was adjudged for outstanding performance by SAE AERODESIGN and ranked 18th among the 40 teams. Naveen, the only member who was also part of Vyoma I is glad to have a room assigned for them at RVCE which he tells us is a nice upgrade from the garage they used last year. The team has all its info on their website www.projectvyoma.com
In meeting the team after the competition, it did not seem like they were down in any way. No first place, no problem. They had learnt from their mistakes and were looking forward to do a better job next time. They also expressed their gratitude to the hospitality they received by members of Kannada Koota during their stay in Atlanta. NKK offered them souvenirs in appreciation of their dedication and team work.
A spirit of innovation, the drive to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and the motivation to successfully participate in international competitions with nations that have the best of the facilities is a testament to the will of the young Indian generation and a reflection of rapidly developing and confident India. Here’s wishing the illustrious team that knows not to let defeat be the end, but a new beginning, all the very best in all its future endeavors.