AFRL Heavy Lift Challenge

Abstract PDF: 

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is a scientific research organization that does R&D work to improve the technology and war fighting capabilities of the United States. In April 2014, the AFRL is sponsor-ing an engineering design competition be-tween 19 universities and service acade-mies. This year’s task was to develop a de-vice that can be deployed quickly to aid Air Force Pararescue Jumpers (PJs) in rescue and recovery of individuals or items trapped by heavy vehicles, aircraft, structures, or other large objects.


The primary device the team developed is an air bag capable of lifting 25,000lbs which is inflated using a compressed air tank. The secondary device, dubbed the “Ninja”, is a mechanism placed underneath the object being lifted which rises with the object as the air bag inflates. Its purpose is to provide safe shoring to avoid injury should the airbag fail. It is operated by placing it underneath the object to be lifted and releasing the ratcheting mechanism. It then automatically rises with the lifted object and locks into place when weight is placed upon it.


The team will be competing at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee on April 17, 2014. This is the third year that BYU has joined the competition and has always performed well against the other universities - last year taking 2nd place. This year’s team is confident that they will perform well and proud to be making a product that could be used by our armed services to save lives around the world.

School Year (term): 
2013-2014
Team Name: 
01: Heavy Lifters
Coach: 
Van Rogers
Team Members: 
Taylor Eatough, Ethan Grabau, Nathan Harris, Jakob Later, Trey Nelson, Matthew Palmer

Brigham Young University - Provo | Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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