Students Accept Sikorsky Engineering Challenge
October 28, 2011
Five student teams compete to design an engine mount for historic, official state aircraft
Rocky Hill, Conn., – The official kickoff for an engineering competition, the Sikorsky STEM Challenge, sponsored by Sikorsky Innovations and supported by Connecticut Corsair and Connecticut Innovations, took place this afternoon at Chester Airport in Chester, Conn.
The Sikorsky STEM Challenge kickoff brought together approximately 50 Connecticut high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students and teachers, as well as 17 industry partners. At the event, students from the five participating Connecticut high schools – Amity Regional High School (Woodbridge), Bethel High School, Crosby High School (Waterbury), East Haven High School, and Kennedy High School (Waterbury) – learned about the engineering design challenge in which they would participate during the school year. They have been challenged to help restore an engine mount for the historic, official state aircraft of Connecticut, the F4U-4 Corsair, a single-engine, World War II-era fighter/fighter-bomber. Student teams will work to restore the engine mount using original drawings and specifications along with state-of-the-art design and analysis tools.
The challenge culminates with presentations by the competing teams to a panel of judges from industry and academia. The winning solution, to be named in May 2012, will be provided to Connecticut companies for manufacture and integration into the aircraft.
“The STEM Challenge is a journey into the multi-faceted world of modern engineering,” said Bill Harris, Sikorsky Innovations STEM program manager. “Guided by our mentor team and industry partners, the students will be challenged to think and innovate with purpose. They will derive requirements, conduct trades to meet those requirements, develop and refine a solution, and defend their work through a series of gates in a competitive setting.” Harris added, “This journey represents the real world of engineering today. It’s exciting and never gets old. We anticipate that this experience will encourage students to continue their STEM education and pursue a career at Sikorsky or other Connecticut high technology companies.”
The event is designed to support STEM education and workforce development by creating an opportunity for students to apply their classroom learning and innovative thinking to real-life technical challenges faced by engineers.
“The F4U-4 Corsair is significant to this challenge in that, historically, it is the only military aircraft to ever be completely designed and built in one state... Connecticut, thanks to the combined efforts of the World War II-era UTC companies,” said Craig McBurney, president, Connecticut Corsair. “An important part of Connecticut Corsair's mission is to educate future generations about the Corsair and its contributions on both local and world stages, as well as to inspire students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through its restoration. We're proud to partner with Sikorsky and Connecticut Innovations to offer a real-life project that allows students to hone their skills.”
Through the Sikorsky STEM Challenge, Sikorsky and the other participating businesses are encouraging students to pursue engineering careers in Connecticut and helping to ready them for careers in STEM fields. The other businesses participating in the challenge include: Bolton Works of East Hartford, CAPINC of Meriden, DC Hall Rental Services of North Branford, Hotseat Chassis of Terryville, InterPRO of Deep River, Joining Technologies of East Granby, Lynn Welding of Newington, Mastercam of Tolland, Sirois Tools of Berlin, Trumpf of Farmington, Tumbleweed Transportation of Moodus, Tygor Laboratories of Milford, and Yarde Metals of Southington, as well as MSC Software of Santa Ana, Calif., Project Lead the Way of Clifton Park, N.Y., SolidWorks of Concord, Mass., and usingsolidworks.com of Alberta, Canada.
At the event, students enjoyed operating a Cessna 172 airplane flight simulator and were able to view many of the airplane parts of the F4U-4 Corsair, which were present in the airplane hangar.
“This is a story of grassroots workforce development at its best,” said Deb Santy, director, Connecticut SBIR Office, Connecticut Innovations. “It’s the story of a large business – and several related smaller businesses – working with high school students to inspire and prepare them for careers in engineering. Needing fresh, new talent, all of these businesses have an incentive to cultivate and attract Connecticut’s brightest and most creative young minds to future local career opportunities.”
About Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Connecticut Innovations (CI) is a quasi-public organization dedicated to driving a vibrant, entrepreneurial, technology-based economy in Connecticut. CI stimulates high-tech growth by investing in early-stage Connecticut technology companies, university/industry research collaborations and technology transfer and collaborating with government, business, nonprofit and academic organizations to advance technology growth and promote public policies consistent with CI’s mission. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com
About Connecticut Corsair
Connecticut Corsair is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to the restoration to flight of Connecticut’s State Aircraft, the F4U-4 Corsair, while promoting and utilizing state-of-the-art technology and the capabilities of Connecticut-based companies. We work to educate current and future generations about the WWII Corsair and the people who designed, built and flew them. The restoration project allows us to inspire students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math through a hands-on approach. For more information on Connecticut Corsair, please visit www.connecticutcorsair.com
About Sikorsky Innovations
Sikorsky Innovations is the technology development organization of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service.