Museum slates summertime activities

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. – The New England Air Museum will hold family fun programs starting June 30.

Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to put their creativity and problem solving skills to use at the Engineering Design activities offered throughout the summer. Learn about flight, aircraft design, and aerodynamic principles.

Visitors also will have the chance to get up close and personal with the museum’s 80 display aircraft.

Open CockpitA variety of activities will be offered each day such as build and fly challenge activities, flight science demonstrations and the chance to sit in the cockpit of an aircraft.

The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will be open each of these days between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators using real cockpit controls.

Additional activities are scheduled for the following weeks:

June 30 – July 6 Build and Race an Air Trolley: In small groups, design and build a trolley that will race down a nylon line. Two trolleys powered by rubber bands and propellers will race each other on two parallel tracks, the faster of the two trolleys will be the winner. The winner of each heat will compete against each other until there is one winner for each half-hour block.

July 7-13 Build and Race Balloon Rockets: Design a rocket balloon that will move faster than the other competing rocket balloons.

July 14-16 Zip Line Challenge: Given certain materials, design and build something that can carry a Ping-Pong ball the fastest from the top of a zip line string to the bottom.

July 17-20 Straw Rocket Competition: Design a rocket built around a straw that will fly to a specified target using a compressed air launcher.

DSC_0056July 21-22 Imagine Our Future Beyond Earth LEGO Competition: The New England Air Museum will provide the LEGO bricks that entrants need to participate. Prizes will be awarded for the age groups: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12. Start your research today on the many missions NASA has planned to explore our universe beyond planet Earth and imagine the aircraft and vehicles that will be needed to accomplish these exciting goals.

July 23-27 Parachute Drop: With a given weight, design a parachute that will take the longest to drop to the ground.

July 28-30 Rotochute: Given a specific drop zone, build a rotochute that will drop to the ground. The slowest wins. Teams compete against each other until a winner is determined for each half hour slot.

July 31-August 3 Egg Drop: Design, build, and test a contraption that will protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a height of 20 feet.

August 4-8 Bottle Rockets: Build a rocket onto an inverted water bottle using materials provided. Given 60 psi of compressed air, design the rocket to launch as high as possible and carry a half cup of water.

August 9-10 Helicopter 2050 LEGO Challenge: Create a helicopter of 2050 that helps overcome today’s global challenges. Themuseum will provide the LEGO bricks that entrants need to participate. Prizes will be awarded by the Museum for the age groups: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.

August 11-13 Blimp Maze: Design and build a blimp using a helium balloon that will float at shoulder height. The blimp should be designed to be blown through a simple maze in the fastest time possible.

August 14-17 Hot Air Balloon Race: Design and build a balloon that will lift with hot air and race it to the ceiling.

Balloon Race 2August 18-22 Straw Gliders: Design a glider built around a straw that will glide the longest distance possible in a straight line.

The New England Air Museum is the largest aviation museum in New England and is a private, non-profit educational institution that was organized in 1959. Three larger hangars and an outdoor display contain more than 80 aircraft with permanent exhibits that include the oldest surviving aircraft in the U.S. – the 1870 Silas M. Brooks Balloon Basket, as well as an S-39 Amphibian plane, the first aircraft built in Connecticut by aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky.

Featured year-round are many historical aircraft and exhibits including a focus on World War II’s Tuskegee Airmen, and a display about Amelia Earhart alongside a Lockheed Model 10 Electra – the same type of plane flown by the female aviator.

The museum, owned by the Connecticut Aeronautical Historical Association, is on the north end of Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, and features a large gift shop.

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