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Costa Rica Takes Flight, The Suleyabi Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Leads the Way in Innovation

11 febrero, 2023

Innovation in Costa Rica: Students from the “Instituto Tecnológico” (TEC) are on a mission to make a splash in the world of aviation. Their project, Suleyabi, is the first unmanned aircraft designed for forestry applications, and it’s being developed with the goal of impressing judges at an international aeronautical design competition in Mexico.

Led by aeronautical engineer Victor Julio Hernandez and industrial maintenance engineering student Leonardo Capponi, the students have been perfecting their design for Suleyabi since 2018. The name Suleyabi means “The first” in Bribri, and the team is hoping to make history as the first Costa Rican group to win the SAE Aerodesign competition in Queretaro, Mexico.

Despite the fact that they are competing against universities with decades of aeronautical engineering experience, the students are not discouraged. They are determined to make the most of their abilities, despite not having a formal aeronautical engineering program at the TEC.

Many of the students who have joined the experimental AERONAUTEC group are waiting for the TEC to open its aeronautical engineering program, which was approved by the National Council of Rectors in 2016 but has not been implemented due to financial issues. Students from electromechanical, mechatronic, electronics, and forestry engineering programs have all been directly involved in the Suleyabi project.

The involvement of the forestry students is particularly exciting, as they will be supporting reforestation efforts in Costa Rica by transporting seeds to remote areas using the aircraft. The project is also meant to serve as an academic and research endeavor, with the aim of investigating the effects of aerial transport on the environment and analyzing data on reforestation efforts.

Costa Rica is known for its innovative spirit and its commitment to sustainable development, and the Suleyabi project is a prime example of both. The students’ dedication to their work, and their determination to push the limits of what’s possible, is a testament to the future of aviation and aerospace in the country.

Way in Student Innovation


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