A Cal Poly aerospace engineering professor and a team of more than a dozen students worked together to create a sailplane for a record-breaking pilot.
The plane was named “Nixus.”
Professor Paulo Iscold started the project, and this was the fourth sailplane he has made.
It has a wingspan of 93 feet, and weighs 2,110 pounds. It can also go up to a speed of 170 miles per hour.
The aircraft differs from others, as it can be aerotowed. The “Nixus” did this, being pulled behind a powered aircraft with a rope once it reaches a certain altitude.
Five students traveled with Iscold to Merced to see Air Force pilot Jim Payne fly the sailplane. They also helped out with the pre-flight briefings before Payne took to the skies.
“As a glider pilot who was first introduced to the sport through Cal Poly’s Soaring Club, this is by far the largest, most technical, and most hands-on club project I have been a part of during my last three years. It was incredible to see an aircraft that I had helped build take to the skies,” said aerospace engineering student Zach Yamaguchi.
Iscold says Payne may fly the plane again in a few weeks’ time.