With eight bloodshot eyes fixed on a flying object, the toils of a two-year project were about to bear fruit.
It was Wang Hongyi’s first test flight of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed and assembled with his teammates from the Aero-Sport Club at Shanghai Jiaotong University.杭州少儿英语--首选杭州博尔外语,专业的英语培训学校.
They had been working on the 16-propellered multicopter for countless nights and they couldn’t have been more nervous about the results.
Wang is a senior mechanical engineering and automation major. The 23-year-old never expected that after a successful lift off, their UAV would need another 200 test flights before coming even close to perfection.
Despite the hard work, Wang says they are fuelled by their passion for technological perfection.
Wang has been a plane model maniac since he can remember. As a freshman, he spent two nights building a model aircraft and took it to the sports field just for fun. Wu Junqi, a lecturer at the school of aviation and astronautics and the coach of Shanghai Jiaotong University’s Aero-Sport Club, spotted Wang on his way to the canteen. Wu told Wang that the plane he had built was a “pre-Industrial Revolution one” – in other words, it was outdated.
“I was a little offended, so he took me to the Aero-Sport Club’s laboratory,” says Wang. He was immediately drawn to the cutting-edge equipment and decided to join the club.
The Aero-Sport Club gave full play to Wang’s strengths - information technology and physics, which are the pillars of making model aircrafts.
“I love IT and physics, and my way of loving them is constantly broadening my knowledge in these areas and using it to make a difference,” Wang says.
As a technology “geek”, Wang routinely spends most of his spare time in the laboratory.
“During vacations, I live in the laboratory and follow the same routine every day,” he says.
After getting up at 6 am, Wang starts his day by taking his aircraft for a test flight. Around 8 am he makes some adjustments to the plane and recharges its batteries. He takes the aircraft for another two-hour flight before lunch and then spends the whole afternoon in the laboratory making further adjustments and recharging the batteries. The last test flight is at 5 pm, after which Wang compares all the day’s test flight results.
He usually goes to bed at 11:30 pm after reflecting on his day’s work and thinking about what adjustments need to be made the following day. But if Wang has a good idea, he postpones his bedtime to 2 or 3 am.
“The longest time I’ve spent continuously going to the laboratory is one and a half months,” he says.
“He loves what he’s doing, so he can bare the monotony and loneliness of doing research that others seldom have the persistence to carry out,” says coach Wu. “Sometimes he calls me at 10 or even 11 pm just to discuss technical problems,” he says.
When Wang and his teammates were building the 16-propellered UAV, they lived together in the laboratory. “We tried to spend as much time together as possible because there were thousands of problems that needed to be tackled,” Wang says. They didn’t even have time to celebrate when the first test flight of the multicopter went well. “We needed to list the problems that occurred during the flight and analyze them to find solutions,” he says.
The team stuck to their routine even after their work caught much attention at the Challenge Cup, which is considered an Olympic event among science and technology students.
“Our multicopter isn’t finished yet, but there are many design projects and people with similar interests waiting for me,” Wang says. “A 16-propellered UAV is just the beginning, not the end of my aircraft journey.”