Flight Test Project
STEM means more than computers in the classroom, it means placing more emphasis on math and science, more science labs and increasing math and science graduation requirements. The overall goal of STEM is achieving a more science-literate society and producing students who will be able to successfully compete technically in a rapidly changing global market. The Society of Flight Test Engineers is partnering with Junior High and High schools to assist teachers make connections between the science taught in the classroom with actual aerospace engineering occurring in the industry.
Since 2012, the Seattle Chapter of the Society of Flight Test Engineers has partnered with local educators to extend STEM education into the classroom. Through the Flight Test Project, students have been shown the joys of learning about science, technology, engineering, and math through performing actual flight testing on a desktop flight simulator. Students are given the opportunity to engage in the fields of aerospace and flight-testing to grasp fundamental principles of math and science. By exploring the physics of flight through current aerospace industry practices, students get to feel what it’s like to be doing the meaningful work of flight test engineering and learning about science and physics at the same time.
SFTE members are engineering professionals engaged in developing, conducting and reporting on aircraft flight tests for companies like Boeing, Airbus, Gulfstream and AeroTEC. Members also act as judges for the student presentations. Chapters can host a dinner meeting at the school where students present to the members in a less formal, more engaging format.
It is the goal of this website to provide enough information and resources to allow either a science teacher alone, or paired up with a local flight test engineer to conduct a flight test project for their classroom. There are several SFTE Chapters located throughout the country that can be called upon to assist.
Inspire and Encourage
SFTE has access to and can provide test pilots and test engineers as guest speakers to share what it is like to be an engineer, a test pilot or a flight test engineer. This often includes personal stories of exciting projects and flight testing experiences.
SFTE can provide industry experts that can act as judges for science projects and presentations. Students react positively to when real engineers come to judge their projects. Students rise to the challenge, knowing that it will be more difficult to present to professionals in the field and that they prepare accordingly.
Curriculum is available for teachers who want to use the flight test project in their classroom. The project can accommodate Jr High School through 10th grade students depending on the time available and depth of coverage. It has been done in as little as three block classes up to a full quarter.