Soaring Through the Sky – Engineering Scholars Design, Launch Gliders

September 19, 2013

The Zoetics

Photo by The Catalyst Junior Marcus Carlile prepares to launch his glider during Monday's Aerospace competition. R.Kelly's "I Believe I can Fly," played during the competition.

Photo by The Catalyst
Junior Marcus Carlile prepares to launch his glider during Monday’s Aerospace competition. R.Kelly’s “I Believe I can Fly,” played during the competition.

By Jordan Hines

The ASK Academy stresses project-based learning, and the Aerospace Engineering Class’s latest endeavor shows that projects are truly an effective and exciting method of learning. Vanessa Barela, Project Manager of the class, had scholars design, construct, and test gliders in a small competition.

The class first took advantage of the software Aery, which allowed scholars to design and analyze their gliders, then print out plans for construction, in order to get

exact measurements so that little mystery is left to the building testing stages.  However, the software had some flaws that caused some surprises to arise later on.

Junior Cameron Coe said his issue was that Aery doesn’t give the plans for a glider that won’t fly, where in certain aspects of analysis that would have been helpful. Junior Marcus Carlisle also had trouble with Aery, stating that it was inaccurate.

All-in-all, students said they enjoyed the project. Junior Cameron Curvin struggled during the building stage, saying he  had a tendency to break the product. Still, he would like to do similar projects in the future.

Junior Ryan Dunning said the project was “intellectually challenging.”

Finally after several days of designing and building the product, the competitive testing stage commenced. The shapes of the gliders, and the results varied. The shortest distance flown was 15 feet, while the furthest was 62 feet, by a glider resembling a ballistic missile created by senior Devin Burke. The glider bearing the most similarities to a traditional glider was built by Junior Giovanni Cordova, and flew 35 feet.

Barela thought the project was a success for those who took it seriously and used to the software properly. She has plans for many more projects that will continue to challenge scholars and increase their knowledge of aerospace engineering. The projects include building airplane wings and testing their strength, designing a rocket that the scholars will launch, and an unmanned rover that will move autonomously. The hardest projects will involve a wind turbine and a parachute, so engineers: be prepared.

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5 Comments on “Soaring Through the Sky – Engineering Scholars Design, Launch Gliders”

  1. Robert Sedillo Says:

    that looks like fun


  2. Selena Najera Says:

    The gliders looked like they would fly but I heard many people have difficulties but still it would be fun in the process.


  3. Mason Kemnitz Says:

    This would be fun, especially launching them, even if they didn’t always work.


  4. Darnell Says:

    I think that this is a good design


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