Glides like balsa

Gingerbread Brookings Above, Parkway South High School senior Will Mertz (center) explains the design
of his team’s custom-built hand glider to Chris Kroeger, associate dean for students in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, during the Boeing Engineering Challenge May 4 in WUSTL’s Athletic Complex Field House. Parkway senior Derek Mandell looks on. Mertz and Mandell were among some 80 area high school students in 24 teams competing in the Boeing Challenge to determine which team’s glider had the farthest flight, straightest path, longest hang time or highest quality of flight. Gliders with the most creative appearance and most creative engineering also were recognized. Below, Mandell launches his team’s glider from the Field House balcony as Mertz captures it on video. The high school teams created the gliders out of balsa wood with consultation from 17 Boeing engineers and WUSTL undergraduate Boeing Scholars. In the process, they learned important concepts in physics and aerospace engineering. Boeing is a longtime supporter of K-12 education initiatives at WUSTL, including teacher graduate programs through WUSTL’s Institute for School Partnership. Credit: Whitney Curtis (2)Gingerbread Brookings