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An Update on Oklahoma Christian Engineering’s Drone Project

Oklahoma Christian University Engineering seniors partnered with Predisan Health Ministries in Honduras to build a drone which can deliver medical supplies. 

Seven seniors, Caleb Mauck, Nathan Stover, Daniel Rutledge, Forrest Sheadel, Jonathan Ballard, Joshua Guill and Kamdon Minor, have worked on the drone since the beginning of the fall semester.

Nathan Stover said the challenges currently facing the team are the drone’s VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing), cargo capacity and range. 

“Industry still hasn’t completely figured out VTOL yet, so what we’re doing here is cutting edge in the aviation community,” Stover said. “Add the range and cargo to that and this project becomes pretty daunting.”

Even with these obstacles, the team has made multiple improvements to the drone, such as changing to a slit wing design. Stover said this change will allow the drone to be transported to Honduras in one container instead of two. 

“Airline policy restricts the size of the containers we are allowed to fly with,” Stover said. “The wing being in 3 pieces means we need a joint. A lot of design and experimentation has gone into this joint, which is now proving to be pretty strong.”

Caleb Muack said the team’s goal is to fly the drone in Honduras to showcase what the drone is capable of. However, with the deadline quickly approaching, both Muack and Stover said finishing it in time will be the biggest challenge and goal for this year’s project. 

“We want to fly this craft in Honduras and demonstrate the feasibility of this project on a larger scale,” Muack said. “That deadline is coming up, and we are working hard to meet it.”

Johnathan Ballard said while the drone has given the team hands-on experience with engineering, it has also allowed them to grow spiritually.

“The staff at Predisan were some of the most cheerful people I’ve ever met,” Ballard said. “They treated everyone like royalty, volunteers and patients alike, no matter who you were or where you came from.”

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