SLO-based unmanned aerial systems company Jennings Aeronautics were testing in the Low Speed Wind Tunnel this week, with veteran student test engineer Matt Paul (Aero) and junior lab manager Noah Sadler (ME) running the show with summer lab assistant Garrett Klunk (Aero). Shota Watanabe (Aero) was the day’s point-man for rapid prop blade changes. It’s the first time Jennings has tested in the newest iteration of the facility, which includes a brand new test section.
There’s been increasing interest from companies looking to take advantage of the improvements in test capabilities. Lab director Dr. Graham Doig said “We’re not trying to compete with big facilities, we’re more like a development-scale tunnel with a mission to train students as well as do aerodynamic R&D. It’s win win - our students get some great “earn by doing” experience in a professional test environment right here on campus, and companies get to take advantage of our resources without breaking the bank”.
It’s the second time propeller and motor performance has been tested in recent months - “some of our AIAA DesignBuildFly student team were running a very similar test as part of a project they designed themselves for our experimental aerodynamics course in Spring” says Doig, “it’s really cool to see how well-prepared our students can be for industry by the time they graduate from Cal Poly”. Elias Sullwold of Jennings Aeronautics (an Aero alum himself from ‘05) said “having the students in the lab today was excellent… they have fresh ideas, it helps us as well as them to figure out how to do things better, get data quicker, and do more in a day”.