Aviation and Aero Club: Up, up, and Away to Space

Next April, the Aviation and Aero Club here at Dripping Springs High School is doing the unthinkable: going to space. Headed by engineering and computer science teacher John Adams, a small team will be working hard to reach their destination, the edge of Earth’s atmosphere, in a short period of 12 months.

The Aviation Club was started about a year ago by a couple of freshmen engineering students in Mr. Adams class and is seeking members to aid this project.

“Aviation and Aero Club is a club for people who have an interest in aviation and the engineering that goes with it,” club secretary and freshman Jessica Heintz said.

Currently, the club has around seven members, but is hoping for 20 or more by the project’s completion, as it is such a large task.

“What we need are more students who are interested,” Adams said. “They can join our club and send this really cool payload package up to an altitude of about 100,000 feet.”

“We’re working on launching a weather balloon into the atmosphere and will launch a series of tests during the ascent and descent,” sophomore and project manager Royce Heflin said.

These tests are said to include barometric pressure, detection of x-rays, temperature, and a camera to capture an image of the Earth’s curvature, along with a GoPro to document the adventure.

The engineering process is not the most timely set of procedures, however yields valuable and reliable results, explaining the length of the deadline.

“We’re looking at April of next year, which gives us a chance to do some real engineering in terms of planning and designing then testing and redesigning,” Adams said.

Although their project is not far along, they are already expecting a large impact.

“It will certainly impact the students who do it. They will learn to design a complex system and develop teamwork experience, which is always interesting to colleges and employers,” Adams said.

Other members believe the results will extend even further than the students who participate, potentially reaching the community and beyond.

“We hope other schools will be inspired by our project,” Heflin said.

The Aviation and Aero Club will announce its official launch date as April of 2018 draws closer, but until then, members are needed and planning is being made. As the first students to reach space at DSHS, the Aviation and Aero Club’s launch of a weather balloon is sure to inspire students here and elsewhere.

Photo by PhotoTexas

Front Row: Catherine Manning, Co-President; Emily Curran, Co-President; Second Row: Kamrie Holms, Anna Wyszkowski, Julia Roldan; Third Row: Gabi Menjivar, Reid Lohman, Treasurer; Joshua Weikert, David Garcia, Jessica Heintz, Secretary

Written by Emily Curran, Staff Writer

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