50 CT pupils to aid restoring vintage warplane
By Gregory Seay
Today – Friday, October 28, 2011
Stratford's Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and various corporate and nonprofit partners are enlisting some 50 Connecticut high school students to help them solve specific design challenges in restoring a vintage World War II warplane that is the state's official aircraft.
The pupils, some of whom aspire to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), will gather Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. in a Chester Airport hangar to see up close the Vought F4U-4 Corsair fighter-bomber and related parts to which they have been assigned.
Students from five high schools also will take turns at the controls of a propeller-plane flight simulator that will be set up at the airport, officials said.
The Corsair -- designated Connecticut's official aircraft in 2005 -- was a carrier-capable, single-engine warplane that was highly effective in combat in the Pacific theater in WW II and during the Korean War.
According the nonprofit group Connecticut Corsair, the plane to be restored rolled off the then Vought/Sikorsky production line in Stratford and entered service in May 1945. It was sold as surplus in 1957.
The Sikorsky STEM Challenge kickoff also involves 16 industry and nonprofit partners involved in the plane's restoration.
The students will compete in groups to learn and solve a specific design challenge during the current school year, authorities said. They will use state-of-the-art design and analysis tools as part of the project to get hands-on exposure to problem-solving and technology skills.
Once the winning solution is revealed next May, it will be provided to Connecticut companies for manufacture and incorporation into the aircraft.
The students are from Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge; Bethel High; Waterbury's Crosby High and Kennedy High; and East Haven High.
The competition is co-sponsored by Sikorsky Innovations, Connecticut Corsair (a volunteer organization dedicated to the promotion of education and Connecticut businesses) and Connecticut Innovations Inc., the state's technology-investment arm.
Other Connecticut corporate partners: Bolton Works, East Hartford; CAP Inc., Meriden; DC Hall, North Branford; InterPRO, Deep River; Joining Technologies, East Granby; Lynn Welding, Newington; Mastercam, Tolland; Sirois Tools, Berlin; Trumpf Inc., Farmington; Tumbleweed Transportation, East Haddam; Tygor Laboratories, Milford; and Yarde Metals, Southington.
Also involved are: MSC Software, Santa Ana, Calif.; Project Lead the Way, Clifton Park, N.Y.; SolidWorks, Concord, Mass.; and Usingsolidworks.com, Alberta, Canada.
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