The Frederick News-Post
FREDERCK, Md. (AP) — Phil Arnold had no plans for spring break, but if he did, he says he’d cancel them.
The architecture and engineering design teacher at Frederick County’s Career and Technology Center now plans to spend those
early April days in the CTC’s computer-assisted design lab.
Seven of Arnold’s students were recently named the winners of Maryland’s Real World Design Challenge, and several have already asked him if they can use the lab during spring break to perfect their project for the national competition in April.
“You don’t discourage that kind of commitment,” Arnold said Wednesday.
In their first year participating, CTC’s seven CAD engineering students topped eight other Maryland teams to be named state
winners of the challenge.
CTC Principal Greg Solberg emailed Arnold information on the contest and, on the last day for registration in November, the
students decided they wanted to participate. They have since devoted all of their class time to the project, and some have
worked until midnight Fridays and weekends to complete the task.
The contest provides students an opportunity to work on real-world engineering problems in a team environment. This year’s
challenge was to design an environmentally friendly plane that meets specifications of a light-sport aircraft.
Nationwide, 647 teams participated.
In the state round, students needed to design a wing for a light sport aircraft.
They were also required to submit a 2,000-word essay on where they would fly their plane and why.
For the national competition, students must refine their wing plan and design a two-man aircraft that will fly from Kitty Hawk,
N.C., to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The team that gets there fastest wins.
A 2,000-word essay on their flight plan, such as where they will stop for fuel, is also required.
Challenge participants are given $1 million in aerospace engineering software used by NASA, the Department of Defense and
Lockheed Martin Corp. to design their project.
Junior Garrett Radtke said the challenge has been difficult but fun, and using the advanced software has been a “learn as you go” experience.
“It’s a great and interesting experience because you’re going to use this in your job field,” he said.
Senior Spencer Kolb said he picked up the software quickly, and the training is a good experience.
“This is actually real software that’s used in the real world,” he said.
The project for the national competition is due April 9, and a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation is due April 15. The national
champion will be named during a three-day event April 20-23 at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
Thirty-nine teams, including some international competitors, are scheduled to participate.
The winners will get a trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama.
The competition and the software give students a head start on the structure of college projects, Arnold said.
“It is rare that a high school student would experience this level of academic challenge.”
Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)