From Staff Reports
Two Unicoi County High School students – Alan Meza and Luis Reynoso – participated in the 38th National Technology Student Association (TSA) Conference held in Nashville from June 28 to July 2.
Meza and Reynoso, both of whom graduated from UCHS in May, participated in three events at the national conference. The events were: Technical Sketching and Application; Structural Engineering and Design; and the Flight Endurance competitions.
Their best results were in Flight Endurance where each finished as top-10 finalists. Meza brought home third place overall and was followed by Reynoso in fourth place overall.
“This is a fantastic result in a field approaching 100 competitors at the national level,” teacher and advisor to the students Rusty Edwards said.
In the Flight Endurance competition, scoring is based on the total time of two flights. Successful landing counts as a bonus of 10 seconds. Up to 50 points can be awarded for a portfolio describing the parts and functions of the plane and documentation of the last 10 flights.
Typically, flights need to be in the range of 2:30 to be competitive at the national level. Reynoso posted times of 2:40 and 2:46 on his official timed flights and received both 10 second bonuses for landings.
Meza posted a 2:29 on his first official flight, plus a 10-second bonus. This was below his practice averages. He made an adjustment on his second flight and added 35 seconds for a national record flight of 3:04.
“These are the results of many hours of building, testing, experimentation and tweaking of the planes,” according to Edwards. “Practices were held in the high school gym.”
Previously, in April, Reynoso competed at the state conference in Chattanooga and finished as the state champion with state record times of 2:39 and 2:40.
For the competitions, planes must be built to given specifications, such as materials used and size of the plane. The total weight cannot be less than seven grams. The rubber motor has a maximum weight of 1.5 grams.