Students in Mrs. Fox's Aerospace class, a year long course in the third year of the Academy of Engineering and Aerospace, are anxious to use the newly donated wind tunnel to support them in their course work. Jim Denly - a former naval flight crew member, career engineering technician for IBM, and active local pilot and FAA-certified aircraft and power plant (A&P) mechanic - procured the wind tunnel through Craigslist.
The wind tunnel was originally located at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and later relocated to the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma, TN. After years of training Air Force personnel, it was donated to a museum and education outreach center in Tullahoma. Recently, the museum’s management decided it was time to free up floor space for other exhibits, so they posted an ad on Craigslist.
Jim discovered the wind tunnel when he was visiting his family in Alabama and noticed the ad. He had no idea what to do with the wind tunnel, and no easy way of transporting it back home. But he couldn’t resist it - especially after learning that it had started it’s “life" at USAFA.
Mr. Denly acquired the wind tunnel for a museum donation, rented a U-Haul trailer, and then drove it back to Erie about a month ago. Mr. Mark Lake - VP of Research at Roccor and dedicated community member and father - saw the wind tunnel in Jim's hangar in Erie's Parkland Estates and shared with Jim EHS’s potential interest. Mr. Denly immediately offered it up for a donation - didn’t hesitate for a second! Mark Lake is also the creator of our new Flying Tigers Wind Tunnel graphic featured below.
Now that we have the wind tunnel, our engineering teachers and students will seek out ways to use the wind tunnel to enhance learning and curiosity throughout all levels of the engineering pathway. Aerospace students are already excited to enhance their glider unit by using the wind tunnel to measure lift and drag in airfoils that they design and 3D print.
Erie High School's Academy of Engineering and Aerospace is strengthened by the many industry partners that support our program. We are excited to welcome Mr. Jim Denly to the fold and are excited to use this new connection and Mr. Denly's love for encouraging young people to involved in aviation to enhance our students' practical understanding of engineering in the fields of aerospace and aviation.