Zephyr, the annual aerospace and aviation engineering event hosted by IIT Mumbai got under this morning at Powai. Having established itself as the largest student-organised aviation event in Asia, the event last year attracted almost 10,000 students from all over the country, the oerganisers of this year's event say.
Last year an audience of over 5,000 turned up to hear astronaut Sunita Williams, the star of the event, detail her experiences aboard the International Space Station, making it the biggest lecture in the history of IIT Bombay .
Events at Zephyr 2008 have been divided into four broad groups - lecture series, competitions, workshops and exhibitions. The lectures provide an opportunity to interact with distinguished personalities from the fields of aviation and aerospace.
The keynote speaker this year is Dr Daniel Raymer, president, Conceptual Research Corporation, and former design director of Lockheed where he worked on prestigious projects such as the B-2 Bomber and F-22 Raptor. Other prominent personalities include Dr Tomonari Furukawa (professor, Virginia Tech who has worked extensively on cooperative control of unmanned aerial vehicles) Dr Tessy Thomas (project director of Agni II Missile, famously known as the missile woman of India) Dr Mayank Vahia (senior astrophysicist, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research).
Another highlight of Zephyr 2008 is the Aerocamp which is open to all aerospace enthusiasts to come and present ideas or just discuss, brainstorm and share opinions.
Workshops at Zephyr herlp to acquaint the students with aerospace fundamentals and provide them with hands-on experience.
This year there will be workshops on ornithopter making (aircraft with flapping wings) conducted by founder of The Ornithopter Zone, Nathan Chronister, a beginners' workshop on boomerang making aimed at discussing the intricacies of boomerangs, aeromodelling workshop where gliders will be made from balsa wood, an advanced workshop on computational fluid dynamics) and finally an astronomy workshop inclyuding a stargazing session introducing the basic concepts.
Among competitions is MachInfinity, a remote-controlled mini aerial vehicle competition, U-Turn, a boomerang making competition targeted at amateurs, aerotainment quiz spanning anything and everything related to flight, aero race, an on-the-spot competition related to various realms of aerospace and flight Sim 3.0, a multiplayer combat flight simulator competition.
Zephyr also has exhibitions and technology based entertainment shows including a static display of various unmanned aerial vehicles and micro aerial vehicles as well as dogfight and formation flying, a demonstration of tricks and stunts by micro aerial vehicles to be performed by a professional aeromodeller.
Zephyr 2008 will conclude on 12 October. More details available on visit www.aero.iitb.ac.in/zephyr