The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of School Planning & Management magazine.

Sikorsky Announces 5th Year of Helicopter 2050 Challenge

Kids to Create the Helicopter of the Future in Scholarship Competition

Stratford, Ct. – Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., has launched the 5th annual Sikorsky Helicopter 2050 Program and Challenge, which asks children, ages 9-16, to create an eco-friendly helicopter of the future that addresses potential challenges of 2050.

The national competition kicked off June 1 and will run until October 15, 2015. The winner of the 2015 competition will receive the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award and a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, the young innovator will be flown to Sikorsky’s headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut, to tour the assembly lines of the iconic BLACK HAWK and SEAHAWK® military helicopters and meet with Sikorsky rotorcraft engineers.

“Our goal is to challenge kids to think about the future and how they can use their science and math skills to make a positive change in the world,” said Judith Bankowski, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Sikorsky Aircraft. “We understand how important it is to develop students’ skills and confidence in these subjects and to give kids of all backgrounds an opportunity to see themselves as future engineers, technologists and scientists.”

The Sikorsky Helicopter 2050 Challenge is a part of Sikorsky’s commitment to encouraging students’ hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The program also gives the corporation an opportunity to develop long-term relationships with tomorrow’s engineers.

Last year’s winner, Hana Bidon, 17, of West Haven, Connecticut, designed the Skylift Rescue 968 by mimicking the bone structure of birds to develop a lighter and more aerodynamic helicopter. The main body of the aircraft is made out of recycled fiber-composite materials, which use 3D vascular networks to self-heal. As a result, this helicopter repairs cracks with the aid of a technician.

Sikorsky co-sponsors this annual Challenge with By Kids For Kids, a Connecticut-based organization, whose educational content inspires kids to become successful inventors. The Challenge honors Sikorsky Aircraft founder Igor Sikorsky who, in 1939, led an engineering team that developed a vertical lift machine with a core design that is still used in a majority of helicopters flying today.

Schools, museums and camps throughout the country can use the fun, hands-on activities to help students imagine the environmental future and challenges of helicopters. Teachers, program facilitators, parents and museum staff can sign up at www.helicopter2050.com to download FREE program materials.

For more information about the competition and program, visit www.helicopter2050.com.

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