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SAC takes flight

Jim Szczur, Missile Defense Agency project engineer, helps Zoey Nerey-Shaffer learn how to fly a “whirley-gig” during 4-H National Youth Science Day at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Schriever School Age Care program youth learned about flight through experiments with the “whirley-gigs” and other forms of aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Jim Szczur, Missile Defense Agency project engineer, helps Zoey Nerey-Shaffer learn how to fly a “whirley-gig” during 4-H National Youth Science Day at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Schriever School Age Care program youth learned about flight through experiments with the “whirley-gigs” and other forms of aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Schriever School Age Care program members point at a drone in flight during a flight lesson at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Youth spent Oct. 17-21 learning about the science and theories behind flight in preparation for 4-H National Youth Science Day. (Courtesy photo)

Schriever School Age Care program members point at a drone in flight during a flight lesson at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Youth spent Oct. 17-21 learning about the science and theories behind flight in preparation for 4-H National Youth Science Day. (Courtesy photo)

Schriever School Age Care program members watch a drone fly through the indoor running track at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, during 4-H National Youth Science Day Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. 4-H NYSD was created to drive interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related career fields by having kids around the world perform the same experiments at the same time. This year’s experiments focused on flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Schriever School Age Care program members watch a drone fly through the indoor running track at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, during 4-H National Youth Science Day Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. 4-H NYSD was created to drive interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related career fields by having kids around the world perform the same experiments at the same time. This year’s experiments focused on flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Schriever School Age Care program youth spent a week learning about the benefits of, and science behind, drone flying before testing those theories during 4-H National Youth Science Day here Friday.

“4-H National Youth Science Day promotes (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and careers by having kids all around the world perform the same experiment at the same time,” said Vanessa Tranel, Colorado 4-H military liaison.

This year, youth performed a series of experiments demonstrating the different ways to achieve flight. Additionally, the SAC brought in Jim Szczur, Missile Defense Agency project engineer, to speak to the youth about drones and aerodynamics.

“Drones are really cool technology and beneficial in many ways,” Szczur told the participants. “Drones with a camera can go to dangerous places and it’s as if you’re right there.”

Youth began the experiments by assembling and test flying “whirley-gigs,” or handheld helicopters. They tested differences in velocity and trajectory by varying the speed and angle of launch. They then used Styrofoam plates to create airplanes. Youth used a penny to experiment with balance and its effect on flight.

“The penny kept things balanced and allowed for nice, long flights,” Szczur said.

The day concluded with test flights of a plastic glider. Szczur explained how a stall prevents the glider from maintaining a level flightpath and how even slight changes can be detrimental to a smooth flight.

Schriever School Age Care program participants actually spent a full week learning about flight, specifically focusing on drones.

“On day 1, we basically did a ‘Drone 101,’” said Je’Mahl Ray, SAC program assistant. “On day 2 we built cities, defined reconnaissance and flew some ‘drones’ over the city.”

Ray said he concluded the lessons by taking youth up to one of the parking lots in the Tierra Vista Community and giving them a demonstration with his personal drone.

“It’s extra cool to be able to conduct this kind of experiment on an Air Force base because of the direct tie-in,” Tranel said.

The purpose of 4-H’s NYSD is to get youth excited about the possibility of pursuing a career in a STEM-related field.

“It’s a national-level approach to focusing on STEM,” she said. “There is a shortage of people going into STEM fields. This day opens the door more to explore STEM.”

For more information about 4-H or the NYSD, visit www.4-h.org.

For more information about the SAC, call 567-4742.
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