High school aerospace

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by fly2kads, Mar 3, 2018.

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  1. Mar 3, 2018 #1

    fly2kads

    fly2kads

    fly2kads

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

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    My 16 year-old son is getting to do some pretty cool stuff in his high school classes right now. He is in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) program which incorporates a lot of project-based learning. He is currently taking an Intro to Aerospace class, which is finishing up a unit on airfoils. They designed their own airfoils in a NASA simulator, built test models, and are now testing them in a desktop wind tunnel.

    Here's his model:
    STEM_test_airfoil.jpg
    He was going for something appropriate for a UAV or GA aircraft. He used a CNC machine to cut templates from aluminum sheet, then hot-wired the foil from foam insulating board.

    The model in the wind tunnel:
    STEM_wind_tunnel.jpg
    This wind tunnel controls velocity only; AOA is set manually between runs. It has load cells for lift and drag, and is connected to a data acquisition system on the PC. He's only done one sweep at one AOA so far.

    Their projects tend to have a lot of hands-on fabrication involved, where they go through a design/build/test cycle. They have a mini machine shop, with the CNC cutter, a 3D printer, a lathe, a bandsaw, a drill press, and some other stuff. The Ag barn has a plasma cutter, so when they need heavier stuff cut they go visit their 4H friends. The students all have to go through a basic OSHA safety certification before they can use the tools.

    Their big project for the spring will be rocketry! They will be participating in a regional contest next month, where their design goal is to reach one mile of altitude. They have been learning to use a rocket design and simulation program, and have built their first small-scale test rockets. They are going to do some test flights, then apply what they have learned to the larger rockets they will design for the competition.

    My son has really enjoyed the program so far. He's currently thinking he wants to continue his education by getting a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

    I'm grateful we live in a school district that has the vision and the resources to implement this kind of program. I wish more kids had this kind of opportunity.
     

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    BoKu, Joe Fisher, wsimpso1 and 10 others like this.
  2. Mar 8, 2018 #2

    Richard6

    Richard6

    Richard6

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    Wow I'm so glad to hear about a HS student actually learning something in the science field rather than the usual liberal arts thing. I hope your son keeps up his desire to learn.

    Richard
     
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  3. Mar 9, 2018 #3

    Hot Wings

    Hot Wings

    Hot Wings

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    You are indeed fortunate.

    My brother was doing a similar thing for his high school class but got shut down because of the "no child allowed to excel" program. :depressed His wind tunnel looked to be the same as yours but had auto AOA with computer logging. Now that he is in the new building, and the old one sold, I expect the tunnel to show up at the next school excess inventory auction. ;)
     
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  4. Mar 9, 2018 #4

    pictsidhe

    pictsidhe

    pictsidhe

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    Oh, the US has adopted the 70's and 80's UK approach to education? I'm not so sure that's a great idea, myself. But hey, maybe most fast learners actually benefit from sleeping through classes.
     

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