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Capturing History With Modern Technology Wright Flyer Replica Space Launch

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Promoting ET Through K-12 Projects

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.283.1 - 8.283.14



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Paper Authors

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Steven Harper

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David Meyer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2003-913

Capturing History with Modern Technology Wright Flyer Replica Space Launch

Steven D. Harper, MS Eng, David G. Meyer, PE Sinclair Community College


Student interest in engineering technology has been in decline over the 10 past years. Today's students seek exciting career opportunities and can choose from a number of interesting and rewarding non-scientific disciplines. The need to show high school students that engineering offers rewarding career opportunities has never been stronger, with an estimated 400,000 unfilled jobs nationally. There is a tremendous need for future engineers. As stated in a Wall Street Journal article, the generation that put a man on the moon is retiring. NASA has more engineers over age 60 than under 30. There are currently more graduates in Parks & Recreation than in Electrical Engineering. In addition, the Freshmen attrition rate among Engineering majors is 40% (Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2002).

This paper presents a concept to energize students' interest in engineering technology through a "hands on" application of a variety of engineering skills. A replica of the Wright Brothers 1903 aircraft that made the first successful manned, powered flight will be launched into space to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this event. An interdisciplinary team of engineering technology students at Sinclair Community College has collaborated to manufacture a scale replica for the launch.

Sinclair's Aviation Technology (AVT) and Industrial Engineering Technology (IET) departments have led this project. The leadership team for the project was created from three Sinclair student organizations affiliated with the IET and AVT departments. These include the Sinclair Aviation Club, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and the Society of Plastics Engineers. These student groups gained support from local industry partners and others in the community. A partnership was established with the Dayton Air Show Education Committee to involve High School students and the Dayton Challenger Center provided involvement for middle and elementary school students. Home Based Arts (HBA) has provided direction and vision to initiate agreements with NASA and has secured a launch window for March 1, 2003.

Outcomes from this project included achievement of Sinclair's Core Competencies by Engineering Technology students and a measurable increase in student enrollment and retention rates. The competencies of problem solving, communication, teamwork, and citizenship were emphasized. Significant results include a growth in the Sinclair Aviation Club from 10 members last year to 29 members this year. Two new student groups were established in the IET department.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Harper, S., & Meyer, D. (2003, June), Capturing History With Modern Technology Wright Flyer Replica Space Launch Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12640

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