Sikorsky seeking futuristic helicopter designs
June 11, 2014, Stratford, Conn. - For the fourth consecutive year, Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., is giving kids, ages nine to 16, a chance to compete for a $1,000 scholarship through the Sikorsky Helicopter 2050 Program and Challenge.
By Carey Fredericks
The national program, which challenges kids to design a Helicopter of the Future, kicked off June 1 and will run through Sept. 30, 2014. Contestants will design a helicopter that addresses the potential challenges of 2050 and plan for how their Helicopters of the Future would overcome those challenges.
The competition is part of Sikorsky’s commitment to encouraging hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for students throughout the country and gives the corporation an opportunity to develop long-term relationships with tomorrow’s engineers.
“I’m thrilled to see the growing popularity of the program with children and adults alike,” said Judy Bankowski, vice president and chief information officer at Sikorsky. “Every year, we see more teachers using the Challenge for their after-school clubs, as part of their STEM programs, for class assignments and more. The kids love it and, clearly, parents and teachers are seeing the same value of the program on children’s education that we do.”
The winner of the 2014 competition will receive the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award along with the scholarship. In addition, the young innovator will be flown to Sikorsky’s headquarters in Stratford, Conn., to tour the assembly line of the iconic Black Hawk AND Seahawk military helicopters and meet with Sikorsky rotorcraft engineers.
Last year’s winner, Vance Hudson, 15, of Collierville, Tennessee, designed an S-2050 helicopter with a detachable main section that would allow operators to configure the aircraft rapidly for multiple missions or deliver modular loads with life-saving resources for people in need. Vance created the helicopter for countries that cannot afford multiple versions of emergency aircraft.
Sikorsky is co-sponsor of the annual challenge with By Kids For Kids, a Connecticut-based organization whose educational content inspires kids to become successful inventors. The Challenge honours company founder Igor Sikorsky who, in 1939, led an engineering team that developed a vertical lift machine with a core design that is still used in 95 percent of helicopters flying today.
Museums throughout the country will use fun, hands-on activities to help students imagine the environmental future and challenges of helicopters. Teachers and museum staff can sign up at www.helicopter2050.com to receive free program materials. Students can enter the competition at www.helicopter2050.com.