Terri-Jane Yuzda

Student Projects Include Planes, Toboggans and a Career Fair


University of Alberta
Student Contributor



Free Flyers

The U of A Glider Team hopes to fly beyond its recent second-place finish. The top spot, members say, is a realistic goal.



Though the University of Alberta Glider Team is only two years old, it's already soaring high in both achievement and acquisition of experience.

In January of 2001, the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute made a visit to the university. It was then that student Chris Fleming became interested in its annual free flight competition. Under Chris's leadership and under the direction of Dr. Brian Fleck, the U of A Glider Team was born.

During that year, the team could have been considered the underdog. After all, it was four months behind the other universities, which began in September. The team was small and quickly built. And U of A had never before participated in the competition. Taking these factors into account, the team arrived at a reasonable goal: to have a glider built for the competition that May.

After completing the glider, the team was ready for the free flight competition, held that year in Ottawa. Dorothy Fan, the glider team's project leader, said that this first competition gave the team a wealth of knowledge and experience - and the chance to see what other universities had done in their designs.

This experience paid off. The team travelled to Toronto the following year, and this time placed second overall. The competition attracted nine teams from eight universities.

They came from Laval University and University of Toronto in the east, U of A in the west, and points in between. Each team was marked on three components: an oral presentation on the glider, the time of flight with a payload, and the written report. The purpose was to see how the teams applied academic knowledge to real-life situations. These exercises required them to brush up on their communication and presentation skills.

This year the team hopes to take home top honours at the free flight competition. To achieve its goal, members have begun initiatives to both enlarge the team and to gain sponsorship. A paper airplane/glider design competition will be held this year to help generate interest. The glider team will also put on a Christmas party after final exams to raise funds.

Concrete Tobbogan Racers
For the first time in nine years, the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race will be held here at the University of Alberta. The five-day event, which runs Jan. 29 through Feb. 2, 2003, is expected to attract more than 600 students from 25 different universities in Canada and the United States. The race, which began in 1974 at the U of A, is the oldest engineering competition in Canada.

The competition consists of designing and building a toboggan whose running surface must be made of concrete. It must also be able to hold five riders, and have a weight of 300 lb. or less. Of course, a safe braking system and a roll bar are also essentials for the toboggan.

One of the main events of the five-day competition will be a tech exhibit for the public at West Edmonton Mall. This year, the U of A team is starting a new initiative to reach out to high school students. Participating high schools will build their own concrete toboggans. One week before the university competition, the high school teams will compete in an event put on by the U of A.

Sponsorship is especially needed for these events. See the contact boxes within this article.


Want to sponsor or contact the team?
Project Leader Dorothy Flan, Co-Leader Dorothy Lau

Want more team information?

Want competition information?


Want to sponsor U of A's hosting of the Great Northern concrete Tobaggan Race? Gregg Broks
Host Committee Fundraising Coordinator

Want to sponsor the U of A team?
Michelle Hill

Want to know about the team and competition?

Third Annual Engineering Career Fair
The Engineering Students' Society's third annual career fair is scheduled for Friday, Jan.17, 2003. This event has been well attended in the past, and we're expecting even higher turnout in the future. The career fair is a wonderful way to get in touch with thousands of engineering students.

In last month's issue I stated: "all first-year professors teaching an engineering course will have…" The sentence should have read "all professors teaching a first-year engineering course will have…" I apologize
for any confusion this may have caused.



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