MERC Engineer To Represent U.S. In 2016 Indoor Free Flight World Championship

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY (September 7, 2015) The 2015 Indoor Free Flight Team Selection contest was held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst during Labor Day weekend. Top ultralight indoor aircraft fliers from across the country converged on the cavernous Hangar 1 (site of the Hindenburg crash) to compete for the three spots on the 2016 US Indoor Free Flight Team.

ultralightplaneMERC’s own Dr. Joshua Finn, a mechanical engineer, won 3rd place in this contest for ultralight indoor airplanes designated as F1D’s, which do not feature any form of radio control and are powered solely by twisted rubber strands.

As a US team member, Dr. Finn will represent the United States at the 2016 Indoor Free Flight World Championship in Slanic Prahova, Romania, in April 2016. Scoring is for the total endurance of the best two out of nine flights. F1D’s have a maximum wingspan of 55 cm, a minimum weight of 1.4 g, and a maximum rubber motor weight of 0.4 g, resulting in extremely delicate, low powered aircraft.

The top competitors successfully sent their models all the way to the top of Hangar 1’s 175 ft ceiling to achieve individual flight times of nearly half an hour. Dr. Finn has flown F1D for four years, establishing three national records in that class. His F1D’s are entirely of his own design and are built from balsa wood with special reinforcing such as boron, Kevlar, and carbon fiber in high stress areas.

About Mercer Engineering Research Center

Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC) is the research and applied engineering arm of Mercer University, a private university founded in 1833. For over 175 years the University has served Georgia as a highly-respected educational institution. In 1984, the School of Engineering was established at the Macon, Georgia campus, with the charter class beginning studies in 1985.

Two years later, in 1987, the Mercer Engineering Research Center was established under the School of Engineering to provide locally available engineering and scientific services and critical specialized technical skills. Today, MERC functions as a non-profit operating unit of the University, with the Executive Director, Dr. David Barwick, reporting directly to the University president, Mr. William D. Underwood.

To learn more, please visit MERC's website at