History

2003-2004

Team Xipiter is formed by students from the Aerospace Engineering (ASE) and Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Departments, as well as two students from Starkville Academy.  Blake Sanders (ASE) served as Team Lead, Ian Broussard (ASE) as Airframe Lead, and Craig Ross (CPE) as Systems Lead.  In summer 2004, the team traveled to Maryland for its first-time entry in the 2nd Annual AUVSI Student Unmanned Aircraft System Competition.  The team competed with a modified Senior Telemaster (COT) radio-controlled airplane and came in 10th place.

2004-2005

Team Xipiter ventured out to design and build own UAV, named X-1.  This design was a high-wing, all-composite, tractor engine configuration aircraft, boasting an on-board power generating system.  The team consisted of students both ASE and ECE, and grew to include students from the Mechanical Engineering Department and Computer & Science and Engineering Department as well.  In summer 2005, the team traveled to Maryland and placed 8th.  The Team Lead was Blake Sanders (ASE), Airframe Lead was Ian Broussard (ASE), and Systems Lead was Craig Ross (CPE).

2005-2006

In attempt to better fulfill mission criteria, the team designed a new UAV, which was an all-carbon, twin-boom, pusher aircraft.  The team fabricated molds, for the first time, for what was to be called X-2.  Nathan Whitfield (ASE) was team lead, Mark Dyess (ME) was airframe lead, and Ricky Gray (ECE) was systems lead.  X-2 flew autonomously for the first time using the Micropilot autopilot, coming in 7th at competition.

2006-2007

The X-2 design was modified to the X-2B, which had a longer fuselage and was fabricated using prepreg fiberglass.  Team lead was Savannah Ponder (ASE), airframe lead was Nate Ingle (Kinesiology), and systems lead was Joshua Lasseigne (ECE).  Unfortunately, the airplane sustained major damage during a test flight and did not make it to competition.  However, the team still went to competition and was awarded the “Best Use of Intel” award, by intercepting the video transmission of other teams and finding targets during the competition.  (In response, the competition has since banded the use of electronic intelligence.)  Despite not flying, the team came in 8th place.

2007-2008

The team fabricated X-2C, which was X-2B with minor internal modifications.  The team was led by Christopher Edwards (ECE), airframe lead was Marty Brennan (ASE), and systems lead was Brittany Pendland (ABE).  The team switched to Cloud Cap Technology’s Piccolo LT autopilot and a Kroma 100i engine.  At competition, the team came in 1st place.  Read More >

2008-2009

Team Xipiter set out to design a new aircraft, X-3; however, because of issues during mold fabrication, it never left the drawing-board.  The team returned to competition with X-2C.  The systems group was renamed avionics to reflect the “aviation electronics” on the aircraft.    The team was led by Wade Spurlock (ASE), airframe leads were Marty Brennan (ASE, Fall) and Travis Cope (ASE, Spring), and the avionics lead was Daniel Wilson (CPE).  During competition in summer 2009, the team sustained substantial interference in its video surveillance feed from a local television crew transmitting live video of the competition.  Again despite challenges, the team placed 5th at competition.

2009-2010

The team fabricated X-4 aircraft, utilizing a new concept for composite mold tooling for the wing molds.  The aircraft was again an all-carbon, twin-boom, pusher configuration, similar to the successful X-2C design.  The team members expanded to include students from the Industrial & System Engineering Department.  The team’s leadership was comprised of Eric Hill (ISE) as Team Lead,  Jared Gates (ASE) as Airframe Lead, and Rebecca Owens (CPE) as Avionics Lead.  The team incorporated custom-fabricated spars and in-the-wing boom attachment.  The team came in 2nd place at competition. Read More >

2010-2011

Under the same team leadership (with the addition of Jeffrey Morris (CSE), replacing Rebecca Owens post-graduation in the spring), Xipiter produced a new UAV.  The name was changed to the “Xawk series” of UAVs with Xawk 5 being the class name.  The team fabricated molds for all airframe parts of the aircraft, lengthened the fuselage, incorporated an aerodynamic shaped nose cone, and upgraded the engine to the Desert Aircraft DA-120.  In addition to those changes, the team utilized the Cloud Cap Technology Piccolo SL autopilot, a new Imperx 16MP military-grade camera, and on-board linux-based computer.  With molded parts, the assembly of the aircraft proved easier and much quicker than previous iterations.  Unfortunately, due to technical glitches that kept the aircraft grounded at competition, the team placed 14th.  Nevertheless, this team received high praises from the judges, the commander of Naval Air Systems Command, and the deputy program manager for Navy & Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems for overall system design, sustainability, and flight operations professionalism.