Learning while playing is a powerful and fun way for children to start to make sense of the world around them. Every year we organise a special Paper Airplane Contest (PAC) with 7th and 8th-grade students from the Aeronautics Class at Coast Mountain Academy. The contest begins with an interactive workshop where students gain an understanding of basic aerodynamics. Our contestants first learn how aircraft are designed, built, tested, and flown. They then have the opportunity to build wing shapes and test them in our wind tunnel. These workshops are aimed at teaching students how airliners are built and how they can be transformed into private jets, as well as preparing them for the upcoming competition.
Paper Plane Engineers
After the workshops, students are tasked with the challenge of building two competition-ready paper airplanes. They are allowed a single sheet of paper for each paper airplane construction. Glue, tape and weights are not permitted. Each contestant can choose to compete in one or all three of the PAC challenges: Distance, Time Aloft and The Coolness Challenge.
It is always amazing to see the thought that students put into these amazing designs and the precision they use to fold their works of art. Many students even go the extra mile and decorate their planes with hand-drawn designs, suggesting that they leave this event with not only a basic understanding of aerodynamics but also a sense of finesse essential in the aviation industry.
Grand Prize for Top Engineers
The top students in each PAC challenge receive a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. In early May, when spring has arrived in Squamish and the snow is melting in the mountains, Camber arranges for Glacier Air to take all of the winning students flying in Cessna 172s over our beautiful region. These paper plane engineers get to take part in airborne geocaching and try navigating the pilot from one checkpoint to another, all while learning the basics of flying. The winners sit in the front left seat and get their first introduction to actually fly the aircraft while the two students in the back seat do the geo-caching.
Our Paper Airplane Contest is a fun and effective way to get students excited about aviation while applying the theories learned in their Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) classes to real-life scenarios. This event has proved to be very popular among students, and even more popular with Camber staff, who are always eager to meet students and discuss their new and fresh ideas about airplanes.