Media advisory: High school students launch self-designed gliders at Washington University

Annual Boeing Engineering Challenge takes place at 5 p.m. Friday, May 3, in WU Field House

WHAT: Student-designed hand-launched gliders will soar across WUSTL’s Field House in the Boeing Engineering Challenge today to determine which has the farthest flight, the straightest path, the longest hang time, and highest quality of flight. Planes with the most creative appearance and most creative engineering also are recognized. High school students create the planes out of balsa wood with consultation from engineers with The Boeing Company. In the process, they learn important concepts in physics and aerospace engineering.

WHO: About 100 high school students and their physics teachers from Hazelwood, St. Louis Public, Ft. Zumwalt, Rockwood, and Triad (Ill.) school districts, as well as WUSTL undergraduate Boeing Scholars and some 15 Boeing engineers who mentored the students.

WHERE: Washington University Field House, Athletic Complex, Forsyth and Big Bend. Parking is available on the top level of Snow Way Garage, which is near Big Bend Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway. Take Forest Park Parkway and turn south onto Throop Drive, then turn right at the “T” intersection onto Snow Way and the garage is on the left. Once on the top level, park near the southwest side of the garage and follow the sidewalk to the Athletic Complex.

WHEN: 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 3, 2013

MORE: Besides learning career skills in aerospace engineering, each winning design will receive a medal. Boeing is a longtime supporter of K-12 education initiatives at WUSTL, including teacher graduate programs through WUSTL’s Institute for School Partnership. Boeing also contributes to WUSTL’s annual fund, its scholarship programs and its building fund.

The students visited Boeing in November and received the specifications and materials for their hand-held gliders. There are 25 teams competing and each team was assigned a Boeing engineer to serve as a mentor.

“This competition really helps students think about the principles of flight and design,” Boeing mentor Tom Brandt explained. “They might not all choose to go into the aviation industry, but it gets them thinking about other opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and that is rewarding to us as mentors.”

Boeing sponsors the competition with support from Washington University’s Alumni & Development Office, the Institute for School Partnership and the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

On-site contact: Amy O’Brien, program coordinator at Washington University’s Institute for School Partnership, at (314) 913-2656, or CJ Jayaweera, Boeing Communications, at (314) 452-1468.