University of Southern California The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering Pre-College Summer Programs - Student Portfolios

Airplane

Students will design and build a motorized airplane with the ability to fly around a stationary power pole.

 

Rockets

Students will design, build and launch a single stage model rocket. Students will first learn about the components of rocket flight through experimentation and simulation.

 

Helicopters

Students will design and build a helicopter capable of vertical flight from a launch station

 

Essential Questions

  1. What are the four components of flight?
  2. What are the prevailing theories on lift?
  3. What is the primary difference between an airplane and a rocket?
  4. What are the prevailing theories on helicopter flight
  5. How does Newtons 3rd law apply to thrust?

Students will be able to answer the following questions:

  1.  What is the optimal ratio of fin size to cone size?
  2.  What are the optimal shapes for cones and fins?
  3.  How does aspect ratio affect drag and lift?
  4.  How does the dihedral angle affect stability?
  5.  Why a tail rotor is necessary ?

 

Students should be able to:

Determine (physically) a glider’s

  1. Center of pressure
  2. Center of gravity
  3. Aspect Ratio
  4. Dihedral angle

Calculate a glider’s

  1. Center of pressure
  2. Center of gravity

Determine (physically) a rocket’s

  1. Center of pressure
  2. Center of gravity

Calculate a rocket’s

  1. Center of pressure
  2. Center of gravity  

Determine optimal placement of helicopter blades

 

Students will know:

  1. A rocket’s center of pressure must be below the center of gravity for the rocket to be stable.
  2. The different purposes of wings and fins
  3. A helicopter's blades are actually rotary wings
  4. How rotational inertia and angular momentum affect helicopter flight
  5. An airplane's center of pressure must be behind the center of gravity for the airplane to be stable