Looking for a great classroom project? 8th grade students in Wydown Middle School Teacher Scott Mandrell’s Engineering Models class have built a model Boeing 727!
So what made them choose this particular project? “The kids wanted to do something that they felt was ‘on par’ with the Eiffel Tower project we had done last year,” said Mandrell. “So, we started a conversation about possible space to house another exhibit piece. The height and openness of the atrium/mezzanine lobby area intrigued them and we started ‘looking up’. After discussing the wide variety of engineering disciplines, including aerospace, they agreed that they would like to build a plane. At first there was a discussion about doing a model of The Spirit of St. Louis. However, it was soon realized that there were already a number of them in the area and that it was not a very unique design. Other ideas, like bi-planes and such, were considered. Then we began to talk about structural aspects of aircraft designs and, in specific jet aircraft. At first, the idea of building a jet out of wood seemed odd. But, soon it became apparent that it would allow for an exposed structural framework and aesthetically tie-in with the tower and bridge models already displayed in the lobby of Wydown. Then we had to choose the actual airplane we would study and build. After careful consideration, the decision was made to construct a large scale structural model of the Boeing 727. The reasoning behind this decision was multifaceted. First, it was thought that because Boeing is located in St. Louis that it would be an appropriate tribute to the city’s long history related to aviation. Further, the Boeing 727 changed commercial flight around the world when it was first introduced, in 1964. Its ability to take off and land on runways no longer than two-thoudsand feet meant that travelers and business people could access places around the globe that had previously been very difficult to fly in and out of. Moreover, the unusual design and placement of the three jet engines at the rear of the fuselage offered passengers a quieter, and thereby more pleasant, flying experience. All of these factors, as well as others, served as an argument for the Boeing 727 to serve as the model we would add to the Wydown engineering exhibits’ collection. Once the decision was made, we worked with Bob Leserve to scale up and produce precision, laser-cut ribs and airfoils. The students then manufactured most all of the stringers and a number of other key component parts for the model out of poplar lumber stock. The choice of poplar was made due to it being a superior material to balsa for the model due to its size and weight. All the students who worked on the model were enrolled in my 8th Grade Engineering Models I classes, at Wydown Middle School in Clayton, Missouri.”
This project was built from AMA Plan #1019, enlarged 2x for a wing span of 90″. For more information about the AMA Plans Service, please visit https://www.modelaircraft.org/plans/plans.aspx
See also, The Eiffel Tower Project by Mr. Mandrell’s engineering class!