Aeronautica Showcases Aerospace Club's Progress

Rockets, planes and more were all on display Tuesday at Aeronautica, the annual showcase of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA).

With booths set up to showcase current projects, former YUAA co-presidents Scott Smith and Isabella Trierweiler gave the keynote address, presenting the history of the undergraduate organization and outlining its future goals.

Trierweiler noted that the organization has developed more than 20 projects over its eight years.

“Through all of these projects, we’ve learned a ton of things about aerospace engineering, and with each year, we’ve literally been able to reach new heights,” she said.

As much as the organization – which now has about 75 active members - has evolved over its history, Smith said, “we’re still a collection of friends who are interested in aerospace engineering.” He thanked the “dedicated engineers, designers, project leaders and aerospace visionaries who have dedicated their time to bring aerospace to Yale.”

Specific recognition was given to Mitchell Smooke, Interim Dean of SEAS and Strathcona Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science & Applied Physics. Smooke, who was invited onstage and given a certificate, assisted YUAA in becoming a member organization of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) this year.

“This will provide our members and our club increased access to a huge amount of engineering resources and a national network of industry professionals,” Smith said.

Each year, YUAA takes on an ambitious set of projects, and this year, the group is more ambitious than ever. Rather than the usual four projects, they’re working on five of them - a hybrid rocket, a tiltrotor plane with vertical takeoff and landing, a radio-controlled solar plane, and the multi-year effort of building and launching a CubeSat. Another current project, an advanced three-stage rocket, is one of the club’s most ambitious to date.

In addition, the group is hosting in April the inaugural Ivy Space Coalition, a gathering of aerospace clubs from other Ivy League schools.