Gustaaf Jacobs Helps Student Win San Diego Science Fair

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Dillon Patel, high school student at Crest Canyon Academy in San Diego, has shown prospective talent in the area of Aerospace Engineering. Patel previously participated in a program at his high school called QUEST which encourages students to pursue scientific research on the topic of their interest. Referred to SDSU’s College of Engineering by Tom Nietz, Chief of Aerospace Engineering at Northrop Grumman, Dillon Patel was very excited at the idea of advancing in Aerospace Engineering, specifically involving UAV’s in reference to perched landing and biomimetics.

With a referral from Dr. Mehrabadi, Dillon Patel had the amazing opportunity to work under the advisory of Engineering faculty member Dr. Gustaaf Jacobs. After discussing ideas, Dr. Jacobs helped Dillon lay out a plan to develop an unmanned air vehicle that achieved a perched landing, inspired by the manner of a bird land.  Dillon did an extensive literature survey and started working on a preliminary design of the UAV. He sketched a number of prototypes and decided to use a Delta Wing configuration. He then created his prototype in CAD with help from Daniel Nelson, a PhD student in SDSU/UCSD's Joint Doctoral Program. With the help of Mr. Nelson, Dillon performed a preliminary stability analysis of the UAV. He presented this work at the San Diego Science Fair and was awarded 1st place Category award, Sweepstakes runner up, the Fredrick H. Rhor Award. He also received as professional society awards from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Harry Barnet Memorial Award, the U.S Air Force Award, and the Naval Science Award from the Office of Naval Research. He is now eligible to enter the statewide competition. Dillon hopes to continue collaborating on this project with Dr. Jacobs and Mr. Nelson as he moves forward.