An Online Collaborative Project
The Design Problem
Introduction to the Project
Our class has joined with other classes from around
the world to collaborate on an aeronautical design problem. While experimenting
with flight, the Wright Brothers in the early 1900s ran into difficulties.
Some of their early airplane designs did not achieve the maximum lift
and minimum drag or the best control during flight. They would often times
have to "go back to the drawing board" and re-think their design.
Just like the Wright Brothers, you and your class
will need to re-think an airplane design. In order to do this, you will
need to learn a little more about aeronautics. For starters, you will
need to know some of the things listed below:
- the four forces that act on an airplane;
- the parts of an airplane;
- how an airplane flies;
- aspect ratio and wings;
- center of gravity;
The Design Problem
Your teacher will give you a template for a glider.
This glider, however, needs to be re-designed so that it will fly the
farthest distance possible with the most stable flight. After you build
and test this glider, you will see that it definitely needs some modifications
(or changes) to make it fly better. You and your classmates will have
to determine what those changes should be. When making those changes,
you must follow the guidelines below:
- You cannot change the length and width (the size)
of the fuselage.
- You are allowed to change the size of the wings
as well as where they are attached to the fuselage. (In other words,
move the wings closer to the nose of the airplane or closer to the tail
of the airplane.)
- For Level II Only You are allowed to change
the size and shape of the tail section.
Other Things to Think About
1. We need to standardize how each glider will be
launched in order to ensure that all participating classes can replicate
each other's tests.
2. You need to do some research to understand enough about aeronautics
to solve this problem. (The Wright Brothers also did research before they
3. You need to develop a process for testing your aeronautical theories
on your model. You should come up with a step-by-step process that students
in other classrooms can replicate. (Hint: You could start with the scientific