The 2007-2008 year was one of transition for AMAT. This was the first year AMAT considered entering the plane into both the East and West competitions of the SAE Aero Design event. The team experimented with new fabrication techniques, which were intended to save time. This included quicker production through the use of CNC machines and a new molding technique that skipped the need to sand, was quicker, and more precise.
However, unavoidable set-backs hampered progress of the team. The project area where AMAT works and stores materials was shut down for an extended period of time due to an unrelated accident. The ensuing safety audit adversely affected AMAT's ability to finish on time and go to competition. As a result, AMAT did not finish building the AMF-IV until after the SAE Aero Design West competition.
The standard competition rules stated that the AMF-IV must take off within 200 feet, land within 400 feet, and use an unmodified 0.61 FX engine. However, there were two additional wrinkles which AMAT had to comply to. The first was that the overall length + width + height of the craft must be 175 inches or less, which corresponded to the fuselage lengh, wingspan, and vertical tail + landing gear dimensions. The second was that the runway would be a grass field, which could have unknown bumps and divots.
With these requirements in mind, the AMF-IV was designed as a tail dragger like previous designs. The body was made of composite nomex honeycomb, carbon fiber, and kevlar reinforcement, leading to a very light-weight craft. The double element wing had a span of 100 inches and chord of 11 inches, which corresponds to a high aspect ratio at 9:1. This design was predicted to lift a maximum of 24.5 lbs.
Jean-Jacques Chattot, PhD