Dec. 12, 2008

Students launch paper airlines to celebrate end of semester

Robert Barker/University Photography
Senior mechanical and aerospace engineering students celebrate their winning entry in an end-of-semester paper airplane contest organized by Professor Charles Williamson. From left: Tommy Roth, Ryan Cummiskey, Williamson and Molly Glauberman.

Paper airplanes went sailing through the Bartels field house Dec. 3 during an end-of-semester competition between teams of mechanical and aerospace engineering students.

The competition marked the end of the course Experimental Methods in Fluid and Heat Transfer class, taught by professors Charles Williamson and Michel Louge.

To participate in the competition, which was run by Williamson, student teams created an aircraft out of a single sheet of 11-by-17 paper and tape. The aircraft was required to stay airborne at least five seconds - a feat easier said than done, Williamson said.

"You'd think five seconds in the air is nothing," he said.

The winning team, consisting of Tommy Roth, Ryan Cummiskey and Molly Glauberman, managed to keep their airplane aloft for 12.22 seconds. Their prizes included boxes of Weetabix cereal, medals and bragging rights.

The competition was a celebratory event to highlight the students' achievements as mechanical engineering majors, Williamson said. Comprising only seniors, the course is the last one required to complete the major.