Cal Poly Akaflieg is a club for students who share a passion for aviation, gliders, and soaring. We design, build, and test full scale manned aircraft and flight testing instrumentation, introduce students to the sport of soaring on our immersive simulator, and help club members build invaluable industry experience and connections. We were established in 2015 by a group of Cal Poly Aerospace Engineering students, with the goal of emulating the German Akaflieg system, in which engineering students are provided with hands on opportunities to work on prototype manned aircraft. Our most recent project, the Nixus Sailplane, became the first manned general aviation fly-by-wire aircraft in 2019 after its maiden flight in March. In 2020, we became a recognized student organization at Cal Poly.
Affordable Access to Aviation
We believe that aviation, and specifically gliders are wonderful pathways to allow students of all ages to experience and learn both the joys of flying as well as learning new mechanical and technical skills. Modeled after the Akafliegs of German universities, we hope to making gliding for students in central California significantly cheaper.
Our Akaflieg has been in operation at the Avenal glider field since 2015. As a club, we travel from San Luis Obispo to Avenal nearly every Saturday to soar, socialize, and work on various club projects. We partner with the Central California Soaring Club, who graciously accommodate students want to fly. We aim to provide a welcoming and affordable environment for students to gain hands-on experience with aviation.
Glider Launch Winch Restoration
Our major project for the last few months has been to refurbish and modify a soaring winch owned by the Central California Soaring Club (CCSC). We've been making good progress, creating and using a maintenance checklist, replacing parts, and eventually looking to design several new parts with the end goal of safe and regular operation of the winch to launch gliders. We've also performed several safety tests and are looking to perform our first glider tow by the end of the winter! The CCSC has been very accommodating in letting us help out around the field and we're grateful for all for their advice and instruction.
Akaflieg SLO was just donated a fixed-base glider simulator to aid with student flight training. We are incorporating the simulator into our training process as a more affordable and convenient way to develop good piloting skills.