On Wednesday, June 13th , the Seattle SFTE Chapter held it’s 5th annual STEM outreach dinner meeting at Raisbeck Aviation high school. The Seattle Chapter has had a close relationship with this school for many years by providing judges, guest speakers and advisors to the faculty for their aviation related student projects. The ninth-grade students participated in a ten-week flight test project that used takeoff flight testing as a backdrop to understanding physics concepts such as Newton’s Laws, the Kinematic and Lift equations. Students used the desktop simulator Xplane to conduct takeoff testing of several airplane models. Variables such as gross weight, flap setting, temperature, wind etc. were manipulated to determine their effect on takeoff distance. Takeoff distance was determined by finding acceleration and after converting mph to fps, students used to find the distance in feet.
The event started with 40+ students lined up in the hallway with posters of their presentations. SFTE members mingled and listened to student explanations and test results. Good correlation was seen of the students results, especially if ‘pilot technique’ was taken out of the equation, not un-similar to real flight testing. The members were quite impressed with the level of understanding exhibited by the students and the students were thrilled that professional flight test engineers took an interest in their project.
After dinner, student Max W. with his team presented their test results of a 747 to the group. After that our guest speaker was introduced by a student, but not one picked at random. Geo Huete, a student in the class, is the grandson of our guest speaker, Rod Huete and provided a fine and personal introduction to Rod, an accomplished Air Force and FAA test pilot. Additionally, Rod has provided and continues to provide major contributions to flight test safety with his participation in the Flight Test Safety Committee and has been the Tony LeVier winner twice. Rod flew in special to be our speaker and was honored to attend.
Rod’s presentation was filled with movie clips of Air Force flight testing along with a training video of CRM. He also talked about his career and how he got started in flying. His message to the students was to ‘never give up’. He cited his three attempts at applying to test pilot school before being accepted. He concluded with a Q&A session with the students providing many meaningful questions. See pictures below of this entertaining and educational event.