MIAMI COUNTY — Local students soared to new heights during the WACO Air Museum and Learning Center’s “Take Flight” challenge on Saturday.
Three teams competed in the flying machine design challenge. Students gathered over the course of two months to research, design and build their own flying machine capable of traveling at least five meters.
The “Firebirds” team were declared the victors of the flight challenge. The team used a sling shot method to launch their aircraft clear across the building, well beyond the required distance.
“The hardest part was making the plane smaller so we didn’t have to use as much force to lift it,” Josh Patel shared.
Part of the learning experience is trial and error, which was Brady McKee’s favorite part.
“I love the crashing part because things break and we get to fix it and make it better,” McKee said.
The Firebirds team included Josh Partee, Ian Bayer, Brady McKee, Josh Patel and Parker McKee. The team was coached by Ron McKee and Greg Bayer.
The “Flying Pigs” took second place in the competition with their “Up” inspired design using dozens of colorful balloons held together by a net.The Flying Pigs team included Brooklyn Halter, Evan Massie, Drake Beatty, Fiona Atkinson and Logan Gillis. The team was coached by Scott Atkinson and Nick Halter.
“We did a lot of research on gyros, which are flying machines that go short distances,” Brookyln said.
Slow and steady was their team’s strategy.
“We based our design on a blimp,” Fiona Atkinson said. “It’s not very fast, but it gets to where it needs to be.”
The Waterbombers team launched their aircraft by hand and used water bottles for weight requirements.
Charlie Zawalich, 12, a Troy Christian Elementary student, said his favorite part of the project was using tools like a jig saw, hot knife and lots of other tools to build their flying machine.
“We came up with a design matrix. We really liked the idea of a balloon, but we decided it wouldn’t carry much weight so we decided to do a plane,” Zawalich shared.
Connor Rogers, 12, from Troy Christian Elementary, said his favorite part of the Take Flight challenge was their team’s field trip.
“We got to go to a workshop to build our plane,” he said. “That was fun. Using all the tools to make the plane was my favorite part, too.”
The Waterbombers team also included of Kaiser Werling and P.J. Glover. The team was coached by Carrie Glover and Mark Rogers.
Tom Moser, a local engineer, helped coordinate the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) event for the students this winter.
“For our first year it’s been an exciting project and I hope the kids had fun,” Moser said.
For more information about WACO Air Museum and Learning Center events, visit www.wacoairmuseum.org
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