Oklahoma Engineering Foundation Hosts Annual Engineering Fair
Vol.6 Issue 2
FAA employee Steve Keesey (AFS-620) and a student examine the results of an air-powered rocket launch.

Over 1,500 middle school students from all across Oklahoma met on February 19, 2020, at the Science Museum Oklahoma to participate in the 39th annual Oklahoma Engineering Foundation (OEF) Engineering Fair. These future engineers engaged in a variety of fun and challenging engineering and STEM activities. This year’s fair included many exciting events such as a drinking straw Eiffel Tower building competition, a toothpick bridge construction contest, a drone flight obstacle course, a rubber band powered car contest, an air-powered rocket launch event, and more!

The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC) sponsored two STEM related events, the Engineering Fair Air-Powered Rocket Launch and the Drone Obstacle Course. FAA employees Steve Keesey (AFS-620) and Laura Shepherd-Madsen (AMC-3) worked with students to design and build rockets out of colorful construction paper and scotch tape. Students loaded their rockets on to a PVC pipe launcher stand connected to a small air-compressor. Each student then hit the launch button and sent their rocket soaring with a giant burst of air! Some rockets even reached heights exceeding 40 feet! The schools that launched the highest rockets were Corn Bible Academy in Corn, OK and Canyon Ridge intermediate School in Mustang, OK.

The Aeronautical Center also partnered with representatives from the Oklahoma State University Unmanned Systems Research Institute (USRI) to sponsor the Engineering Fair’s Drone Flight Obstacle Course. The obstacle course required contestants to use their aviation and navigation skills to fly their drone under and around a series of obstacles, fly the obstacle course in reverse, and then fly the drone safely back to the "FAA Drone Zone" starting point. Judges from USRI deducted points for crashes and missed obstacles and the event was timed for speed. FAA Employees Rod Vargas, Bryan Dahlvang and Justin Cockroft (all from AMC-3) helped in coaching the students through the course. There were two student winners representing Lawton Academy Arts and Science in Lawton, OK and Mustang Central Middle School in Mustang, OK.

Students and their sponsors attending the OEF Engineering Fair show off the rockets they made at the FAA sponsored Air-Powered Rocket Launcher Booth.
A student attending the OEF Fair completes the Drone Flying Obstacle Course and brings her aircraft in for a landing.

OEF has hosted this Engineering Fair since 1981 with over 82,000 students and teachers participating. OEF is an organization of engineers, educators, and industry and community partners committed to furthering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education in Oklahoma, producing engineering professionals, and employing them in Oklahoma. OEF has awarded almost $310,000 to date in scholarships to Oklahoma students who are studying engineering at Oklahoma universities. The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center is proud to partner with OEF in sponsoring the annual OEF Engineering Fair and many other STEM education initiatives.

Federal Aviation Aministration (FAA) seal