Winging a Top Prize

It was a moment of pride for a group of Year 4 SITizens from the SIT-UofG Aeronautical Engineering and Aerospace Systems programmes last November. For their stellar efforts in an Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Challenge (AAVC) in 2018 in Chiang Mai, our team, named Black Wing, clinched the top prize for 'The Best Platform Innovation' in the competition's Fixed Wing Category.

The Black Wing Team with Associate Professor Dr Sutthiphong Srigrarom (far right). From left to right: Andre Wan, Gibson Tubiba Teo, Ryan Koh Wee Lun, Yap Thian Hong, Ryan Koh Kok Fong, Glendon Sim Mao Shen and Tin Nilju.


The team's drone beat the creations of 16 others from India, Singapore and Taiwan, including those from defence academies of Thailand and Japan. Competitors were tasked to create a drone that complements search-and-rescue efforts with the ability to drop off a 'payload', such as medication or food supplies, to a 'stranded person' lost in the forest. Teams were judged on the control, speed and accuracy of their drones, all of which were tested in a series of simulated search-and-rescue exercises in the forests of Chiang Mai.

Led by team leader Yap Thian Hong, Black Wing managed to overcome technical and unfamiliar environmental challenges to successfully build a drone on-site from scratch – this, despite the fact that none had prior knowledge and experience in constructing one.

"To sum up my team's spirit in a few words – we dare to try. We trudged on despite a few nail-biting moments that even saw us loaning a radio receiver from another team, as ours had crashed out from our test flight. The competition bonded us and made us realise the value of perseverance and teamwork. We are also very grateful to our supervisor A/Prof Sutthiphong Srigrarom for making this possible. As a bonus, we also made good friends with the rest of the competitors from the other international universities. It's an experience that my team and I will treasure for years to come," said Thian Hong.

The competition, in its sixth edition and hosted by the Consortium of Aerospace Engineering (Thailand) and Chiang Mai University, is dubbed as the region's most-anticipated annual event where budding engineers from institutes of higher learning are invited for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) face-off.

Our heartiest congratulations to members of The Black Wing Team! May they continue to achieve great heights in the field of Aerospace Engineering.