When I came to Michigan, I wanted to immerse myself in more than just the academics that place this university among the top in the world. Instead, I aspired to jump into real design experiences with the opportunity to put my knowledge to work. By joining M-Fly, the University of Michigan SAE Aerospace Design Team, I was able to do just that rising to a leadership position as chief engineer during my sophomore year. This team focuses on a design, build, test cycle for the SAE Aero Design series to construct a large scale remote controlled (r/c) aircraft that can lift a large amount of payload (~2-3 times the planes weight).

This competition brings together teams from all over the world to compete after a 9 month design, build, and test cycle. Getting an opportunity to compete in such a competition has been the highlight of my Michigan experience putting in excess of 30 hours a week to construct a fully functional large scale r/c aircraft. All of the hard work pays off the minute the aircraft hits the runway and takes into the skies. Although the first flights are stressful and filled with anxiety, the feeling of watching that plane fly is unreal. For me, it's about bringing together a team of engineering students to accomplish something bigger than the group itself. No single person could build an aircraft like M-Fly does every year, but as a team, we are able to remain competitive in an international design competition doing what we love.

Christopher Reynolds