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Students learn the basics of flight through hands-on activities

In the course, Introduction to Aeronautics and Astronautics, students worked in teams to design, build and flight-test a balsa wood glider from scratch.
A person throws a balsa wood plane off the porch of a building
Students test out made-from-scratch balsa wood gliders by throwing them from the steps of the Skilling Building. | Photo by Andrew Brodhead


The class Introduction to Aeronautics and Astronautics, led by Ken Hara, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics, introduces the basics of this field through applied physics, hands-on activities and real-world examples.

During one special day in spring quarter, 20 teams of students assembled atop the steps of the Hugh Hildreth Skilling Building to flight-test balsa woods gliders that they designed and built from scratch. Sonia Travaglini, the skilling and learning specialist in aeronautics & astronautics engineering, assisted the students with their glider construction and, along with Hara, served as judge for the competition.

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