Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company, Announces Winners of STEM Challenge

STRATFORD, Conn., July 10, 2017 – Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) company, today announced that an all-girls team from Lauralton Hall high school in Milford, Conn., has won the company’s 2016-2017 STEM Challenge. Lauralton Hall sported the only all-girls team among the eight Connecticut high school teams competing in the aerospace engineering challenge.

The STEM Challenge is sponsored by the Sikorsky Engineering and Technology organization in partnership with Connecticut Corsair, a nonprofit organization the promotes mentoring and training for tomorrow’s engineers through the restoration of Connecticut’s official state aircraft, the F4U, and other STEM programs; and the University of Connecticut’s Engineering Ambassadors. The year-long competition is held to advance high school student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It affords Connecticut high school students an opportunity to be mentored by Sikorsky engineers as the students work to solve an engineering design problem. Fifteen Sikorsky engineers acted as mentors or challenge champions.

“I am continually amazed and impressed each year with the depth of knowledge, passion and creativity these high school teams demonstrate in their technical solutions to some very complex engineering challenges based on real-world scenarios,” said Chris Van Buiten, Vice President of Sikorsky Innovations and executive sponsor for the STEM Challenge. “These students show our future is in good hands.”

The STEM Challenge began in 2011. The latest challenge involved the design of a system that would enable a F4U-4 Corsair, which had crash landed in the Gulf of Mexico, to be safely recovered and airlifted back to its base with the help of a Sikorsky HH-3E Jolly Green Giant helicopter. This year’s challenge stipulated that an aileron, the outer wing flap that allows airplanes to roll, had been damaged in the accident that downed the aircraft. The teams were required to design a fly-by-wire system  ̶  a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface  ̶  to actuate the aileron during the ferry flight back to the aircraft’s base in Connecticut.

The challenge kicked off in October 2016 with teams representing eight local high schools: Lauralton Hall, Milford; Hamden High School, Hamden; Staples High School, Westport; Mark T. Sheehan High School, Wallingford; Joel Barlow High School, Redding; Danbury High School, Danbury; Regional Aquaculture Science and Technology Center, Bridgeport; and Joseph A. Foran High School, Milford.

The teams completed in four learning modules during the school year: research, project planning, a trade study (an evaluation of design alternatives) and free body diagrams (a figure with all of the forces acting upon a given body).  They made their final design presentations April 24 at Sikorsky’s headquarters in Stratford, Conn. They were scored on their final solution including the overall quality and effectiveness of their presentations.

The top three teams then competed during the separately convened statewide Student Innovation Expo on May 20 in Wallingford, Conn.  Winning the first-place trophy was the Lauralton Hall team. The second-place trophy went to the Mark T. Sheehan High School team, and third-place trophy to the Joel Barlow High School team.

The competing projects were all displayed in the Sikorsky engineering building at the Stratford headquarters June 5-9.

About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.