Fairmont Engineering students take first place in design challenge

On Feb. 17, Fairmont seniors Brian Catrine, Bill Timmer and Brandon Wehner won first place in the Ohio Real World Design Challenge at Metro Early College High School in Columbus. The three Fairmont Career Tech students participate in the Project Lead the Way Engineering Program at Fairmont and decided to use the Design Challenge as their Senior Capstone Project.

The Ohio Real World Design Challenge is a state and nationwide contest geared at finding a solution to engineering problems experienced in the world today. The three seniors were required to learn a design software program and use it to find a way to make a business jet more fuel efficient. To do this, the students used the engineering process they learned from their instructor, David Lord.

First, they researched the aerodynamics of flying and sought advice from a research engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Jeff Donbar. The three students were then able to use the software they had learned to test their new tail design and find a solution to the problem.

Gov. Ted Strickland presented the first-place award to the engineering trio during the afternoon news conference at the Design Challenge. The first place winners, Catrine, Timmer and Wehner, will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they will compete against other winners from across the U.S. While there, the students will take their design one step further by redesigning the jet’s wings to make it even more fuel efficient.

Next year, the Fairmont students plan to earn their associate’s degrees at Sinclair Community College before moving on to a four-year university to get their bachelor’s degrees in engineering. The three hope that winning the Ohio Real World Design Competition will open doors to scholarship opportunities and improve their resumes.