A pilotless plane with a wingspan of 1.9 meters and weighing four kilograms – built by aeronautical and space engineering students at the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology – won first place on Thursday at a Tel Aviv aviation and space conference. Recently, the same entry took the top prize in the recent US Design- Build-Fly competition for large and small flying vehicles and eighth place in the general competition against 87 other teams.The group, supervised by Israel Aircraft Industries engineer Shlomo Tzach, were the best in the students’ project competition at the 25th Israeli Conference for Aviation and Space, which opened in Tel Aviv on Tuesday and moved to the Technion campus in Haifa on Wednesday. The US conference was organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the main organization dealing with the development of aviation technology and infrastructure.“This project contributed a lot to the aviation engineering students, especially in their professional career. It was carried out like an IAI project, with purchasing, logistics, coordination and a working plan that updated weekly,” said Tzach, who graduated from the Technion in 1970 and has been working for the IAI for 42 years. He has trained hundreds of engineering students. “This generation is not less talented than the one before it. A group that carries out such a project knows what development is.”Five Israel Air Force soldiers – Ya’acov Ben Shushan, Yossi Yoresh, Gal Klein, Yitzhak Shiroki and Itai Strauss – received the Niv-Ya Dorban Prize at the conference for the most outstanding article, which focused on a mathematical solution to the behavior of aviation cables in various situations.The same team tried to simulate the dynamics of cable behavior, such as a cable used when a plane refuels during flight, an Electric Company cable, the lowering of an anchor in flowing water or even a civilian flight cable that meets interference in the air. The team examined how the cables reacted to disturbances and how to control them.“One of our aims was to see at what speeds planes can be refueled in the air,” they said.Each team member received a NIS 1,000 prize, which was named for the IAF officer Niv- Ya Dorban, who was murdered nine years ago by a thief on a quiet Tel Aviv street. His parents, Rahel and Prof. David Dorban of the Technion, set up a fund in his memory to encourage the writing of articles on innovation and initiative in the field in which their son excelled.Every year, the TechnoRosh competition at the Technion is held for engineering students who carry out unusual feats after building objects.