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bucky's flyboys full group
April 20, 2023

Bucky’s Flyboys Design Blasts Off

Written By: Caitlin Scott



bucky's flyboys

One of the spring 2023 Mechanical Engineering Senior Design teams, Bucky’s Flyboys, recently took second place in the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s annual Aerospace Propulsion Outreach Program (APOP) competition. The objectives of the competition were to modify a small gas turbine engine such that it could produce DC power while maximizing thrust to weight ratio. To accomplish this task the team utilized Thermoelectric Generators (TEG’s) to convert heat from the engine’s exhaust stream into DC power. 

The team traveled to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio in mid-April to test their design with air force engineers. The design was able to generate 315 Watts at full throttle and 80 W at idle, garnering them second place out of 11 teams. While at the base they attended a poster presentation session where students could compare and discuss designs while also networking with Airforce Engineers. This was UW-Madison’s first year competing in the competition and the team is proud of their second-place finish compared to other universities who have been competing for many years! UW-Madison plans to continue participating in the APOP competition in future years and hopes to be a strong contender while providing students with an enriching design experience.

bucky's little thrusters testing
Jake Schraufnagel and Mike Yee testing the design in the Energy Systems Laboratory Facilities in the basement of the ME building.
bucky's little thrusters
Miles Perkins, Jake Schraufnagel, Mike Yee, and Tyler Lee with their design at the APOP poster presentation.

The next Senior Design symposium event is coming up on May 4, 2023. Students will showcase the projects they’ve been working on for two semesters.

bucky's little thrusters full group
Miles Perkins, Jake Schraufnagel, Mike Yee, Raymond Yang, Mitchell Erdman, Tyler Lee, Timmy Quakkelaar, and Konner Waszak-Cortessi at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.