Competition for design of purpose-built air tanker

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is conducting a competition for the design of a large air tanker open to undergraduate AIAA branches or at-large Student Members. They will be competing for prizes ranging from $500 for first place to $125 for third.

The purpose-built air tanker in this design competition will have a crew of two pilots, 5,000 gallon retardant capacity, 2,500 nm ferry range, dash speed of 300 knots, and will be powered by turbofan or turboprop engines.

The winners will be announced in August of 2016. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to bean.

9 thoughts on “Competition for design of purpose-built air tanker”

  1. Will be interesting to see if any of the contestant’s contact anyone in the tanker industry to see what the PILOTS would like too.

  2. Recommend new tanker refit airframe based on my fave Grumman C2 (twin turbo 8-blade).Greyhound–

    Only 10k payload but tough as nails, quick and maneuverable. Navy phasing COD to Osprey?

    35 COD’s available.

    Like the E2 Hawkeye we flew in my old squadron

  3. Way back in the 80’s AIAA had a similar contest. One of my classmates entered it. We all think of scoopers, amphibians, hauling cargo and all sorts of neat stuff. The classmate mailed surveys to aeriel firefighting outfits (this was before e-mail!) and based on their responses they wanted something cheap, reliable, and easily maintained. All the gee-whiz features and off-season uses mattered little.

    1. Good for AIAA in doing this again to bring visibility to the tech SOA. Need more emphasis on first response suppression to real containment. When my kid was at Cal Poly Pomona, doing SAE Aero competitions, they had to lift an 8# “brick”.

      Wonder if a “fluid-drop” version might be possible to add interest. No drones allowed.

  4. Not quite sure I understand the meaning of this competition or purpose. I guess it’s Christmas. Instead of competition for a new air tanker which will NEVER be build; what about tasking these brilliant minds with current aircraft. Tank systems, (forget pressurization) cost and engineering time to convert and operate. Supply chain of affordable parts, and availability of trained personnel to fly and maintain for the next three decades. As currently occurring at the Federal level throwing hundreds of millions of dollars into a 3000 gallon air tanker is (fill in the blank). Give something that the private operates can ponder.

  5. Kind of agree. Maybe a student will offer alternative. As I indicated, my son’s class did the SAE Aero comp’s lifting that 8# brick. Maybe a jiggly gel load might be a worthy try.

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