By William J. Simone
The Flight Test Historical Foundation presentation at the Los Angeles Country Air Show as a hit. Our goal is to promote interest and generate excitement for K-12 students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics through educational outreach about flight test, aerospace, and Edwards Air Force Base. To achieve this goal, the Air Force Flight Test Museum is committed to providing open-access educational resources in STEM subjects for teachers, students, and families to engage in the exploration and understanding of STEM in aerospace and flight test, to build learning opportunities for Southern California students, and to provide an educational center where students can learn and explore.
The Flight Test Historical Foundation effort this year was on the how atmosphere pressure effects us and how we can measure it. The hands on activity was designed by Board Member Don Weiss, a Northrop Grumman Engineering Test Pilot.
Each student was introduced to Boyle’s Law (the law that describes how a gas volume increases, the pressure of the gas decreases in proportion. Similarly, as volume decreases, the pressure of the gas increases) and Charles Law (the law that describes how a gas expands as the temperature increases; conversely, a decrease in temperature will lead to a decrease in volume).
Both of these laws effect our everyday lives. Ever take a bag of chips up into the mountains and watch it expand (mine blew up once!) or put a half full plastic bottle of water in the frig and remove it later to find that it was now crushed?
To demonstrate what they learned, each child was given the opportunity to build a simple but working altimeter and was allowed test it in a small vacuum chamber. Don made this both a fun and learning activity for the children, our future engineers and scientists.