BY BILL FERRIS

To solve engineering problems, the aviation industry has turned to the time-honored solution of child labor. Via the Real World Design Challenge, teams of 3-7 high school students will tackle an aviation problem using the software real engineers use. The contest is completely free, and has some pretty cool prizes and benefits.

The gauntlet, which has been thrown down:

Design the exterior geometry and internal structure of an airliner wing using aeroelastic tailoring methods to minimize the objective function by varying specified design variables without violating constraints. (Full challenge details here.)

Being an English major, I’ve no idea what that means. What I do know, however, is that teachers who partcipate get free access to more than $1 million (!) worth of engineering software. Your students will also get expert mentorship from engineers. Winning teams from each state get an all-expenses-paid trip to the RWDC national finals Washington, DC.

The registration deadline is November 19, and design solutions must be received by January 31, 2011. FYI, submitting an entry is a pretty involved process, so be sure to read the instructions page.

Real World Design Challenge

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