Aviation students use 3D printing technology, learn importance of wing design
Students in King Tech High School's aviation technology class are getting a hands-on lesson on flying safety and the importance of wing design.
Course instructor John Fick says the course is a private pilot ground school that teaches the students the basics of aviation.
"So today we're going to be working on airfoils, a real exciting project," Fick said. "We've been talking about the different lift coefficients and that kind of thing for airfoils."
Over a dozen juniors and seniors from across the Anchorage School District make their way to Merrill Field five days a week to learn about aviation.
"I would say 60-70% are pretty motivated to become pilots, usually professional pilots, commercial pilots," Fick said. "And so it's a great class, a great environment because everyone's motivated to learn and do the best they can with this curriculum."
Recently, Fick met Domenic Giunta, the owner of IDIYA, a company installing 3D technology in ASD shop classes. Fick noticed Giunta's electric airplanes and asked about how to get the materials for them. Giunta responded by helping make some for Fick's classes.
"This is a really cool project. This is a 3D printed aircraft and so all the parts are either laser cut or 3D printed," Giunta said. "It's kind of a design thinking challenge where they understand how an airfoil works, but we're not giving them the design; they get to choose their own design. And now they're going to start creating the airfoil and seeing how it affects the aircraft."
The students are busy calculating, cutting and sanding in hopes the airfoil they chose will work.
"It's great for these kids who are going to be young pilots and so it's great to understand how that profile and how that plane affects the how that aircraft is going to fly."
Not all of the students in the class will work in the airline industry but Fick says everyone walks away with knowledge they can use later in life.
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