With the illusion of putting Costa Rica at the top, a group of students from the Technological Institute (TEC) has the objective of becoming the surprise of an international aerodesign competition that will take place in Mexico.
It is a group of talented young lovers of aeronautics and different TEC careers, who since 2018 have been perfecting AERONAUTEC. The young people were given the task of designing and building Suleyabi, which in Bribri means “The First”.
Led by Víctor Julio Hernández, an aeronautical engineer, and Leonardo Capponi, an Industrial Maintenance Engineering student, the group of young people will compete next March in the SAE Aerodesing event, in Querétaro, Mexico.
Very high expectations
“We have very high expectations. In our DNA is to compete and aim for the highest, which is to win. If we did, it would be a milestone, because right now there is no aeronautical career in Costa Rica,” said Hernández.
Although they are aware that they will compete with universities that have dabbled in aeronautical engineering for several decades, the group is not less than that. “It is not about participating to be the last, we make the best possible effort, within our capacities, without having an aeronautical engineering, to be able to carry out the studies and a design to match, that is our mentality”, said Capponi.
Many of these students entered the experimental group of AERONAUTEC waiting for the opening of the Aeronautical Engineering degree at the TEC, which was approved by the National Council of Rectors (Conare) in 2016, but due to financial issues it has not started.
Students from Electromechanical, Mechatronics, Electronics and Forestry engineering have participated directly in Suleyabi’s project
In the special case of Forestry students, their participation has two primary functions; first, because of the handling of the balsa wood with which a large part of the aircraft was built, and second, because they will seek to support the reforestation of Costa Rica by transporting seeds to places far inside the country.
“In addition to competing in Mexico, the project has the academic and investigative purpose of reforesting, using fixed-wing unmanned aircraft, with very different characteristics from a drone, because they carry more weight and travel faster. The project needs forestry research, analyzing where to do reforestation, which seeds, which trees, environmental characteristics”, explained Caponni.
In addition to contributing to reforestation, the group of students seeks to continue growing after the experience in Mexico and continue to participate constantly in these competitions and at the same time, they call on the national authorities to provide resources for this career and even open the first laboratory of its kind.
The time is now
“We want to send a message to the authorities of the TEC and the country, to help us to see if we can open the degree next year, I feel that this can help us (…) There is a company that is up against the challenge of designing air taxis, we have links, there is a lot of application of aeronautics, developing things that can serve tourism and the Costa Rican industry as such,” added Hernández.
For the moment, AERONAUTEC will seek to delve into more sophisticated research topics, investigate cutting-edge technology and advanced aeronautical studies.
For this reason, they have managed to develop different alliances with organizations such as the Cooperativa de Servicios Aeroindustriales R.L (Coopesa) and Aeroformación de Costa Rica.