Thursday, December 11, 2014

Airfoils and an Aviation Inspired Student

Working with young people that can utilize a small amount of direction that you give them and then follow through on a project is one of the biggest thrills I have had. An area school that I have visited on several occasions to consult on project ideas for a science teacher friend referred a student to me last fall. This is part of the email I received:

One of the classes that I chose to take this year is called Engineering Research.  This class consists mainly of working on a project that you will take to the science fair in Winona later in the year.  There is a wide variety of topics to choose from to base your experiment on.  

In the past few years, I have become very interested in airplanes.  One of the main reasons for this was that I recently went to the airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Seeing all of the planes and jets was very fascinating to me.  A few months ago, I joined a club that will allow me to learn to fly airplanes and eventually get my pilots license.  When I graduate from high school, my main goal is to attend the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  My second choice would be ROTC Officer School and my third choice would be Air Force enlisted.

As you can probably tell, I plan on being around airplanes for the rest of my life so I am very interested in doing my project on airplanes. “ 

Model aviation has been a huge part of my life and I was so happy to try to help this student, I sent him several ideas. The area he was most interested in was to design airfoils and test in a wind tunnel. I had sent him a link to the blog post I had written,  “Experimenting with NASA FoilSim Website”. The student took this to a higher level and actually designed some airfoils.

As plotting the airfoils were beyond my experience I enlisted the help of some online friends, Thank you Gary, John, Manuel, and others for your direction. With an online utility from Airfoiltools templates were printed out and I got out my foam cutting equipment to create wing sections. 

Main Part of Wind Tunnel

Yesterday I met the student at his school and we worked on cutting out an additional wing section.  In the lab area he showed me the wind tunnel he was working on and described the diffuser part he was working on at home to dampen the air coming from the fan unit. There were other science projects in the room such a solar collection system that he briefly described to me as well.  He also told about how he had joined Civil Air Patrol and had recently gone for a flight in their airplane.

There is more work to be done but I am completely confident this student will be follow through on this project.

12/21/2014 Update - Another airfoil completed and ready for testing.

Bill Kuhl

Working Wind Tunnel Update 12-16-2014

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