Some aircrafts took to the sky. Others remained grounded. And for some lucky Sacred Heart Catholic School Cabramatta pupils, they managed to tame the forces of flight to fly for five consecutive loops and register a score on the leaderboard. No matter which category the year 6 pupils fell into, the consensus was the same: the aviation program was “one of the best ” they have participated in.

For five weeks, a group of year 9 students from Patrician Brothers’ College, Fairfield had been collaborating with Sacred Heart students on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) project whereby pupils constructed their own powered aircraft from balsa wood in an attempt to achieve the fastest flight time and highest altitude.

Stewart Towell was one of the 10 mentors who assisted the 80-plus Sacred Heart cohort with the flight principles of lift, weight, drag and thrust and manned cutting and gluing stations every Thursday.

“One of the most common problems was that the plane was too heavy towards the front so they needed to make the plane longer or add weight to the back,” he said.

“I was mainly in the flight test area so it was good to give them advice and guide them and see their aircrafts fly.”

The final day of the project had teams of four competing against each other.

Team JS (fastest) and Team Jets (maximum height) took out the two categories.

What the pupils said about the program:

“It was an opportunity for me to be a risk taker by trying new ideas as well as having the chance to work cooperatively with my teammates. One of the challenges I faced was when the propeller didn’t work properly so together as a team we persevered and overcame our problem.”

Paul Nguyen

“Our group had terrific support from our mentors. The experience was not only enjoyable but encouraged us to be resilient and self-motivated learners.”

Anthony Ho

“I really enjoyed this experience because I got to work in collaborative teams.”

Audrey Lim

This article was originally written by Chris Boulous and published on the Fairfield City Champion.