MITT students design and build innovative wind tunnel for Royal Aviation Museum

Originally posted: June 10, 2024

People standing in front of the new wind tunnel
Tatjana Gordan, RAMWC volunteer; Jared Miskimmin, Program Manager, ICT and Skilled Trades, MITT; Neil Cooke, President and CEO, MITT; Terry Slobodian, President and CEO, RAMWC

Students in the Manitoba Institute of Trade and Technology’s (MITT) Millwright, CAD Technician, and Electrical Applications programs recently elevated their design and construction skills by constructing a functional 12-foot-long wind tunnel. Their innovative project was at the request of the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada (RAMWC).

This progressive partnership between RAMWC and MITT reflects how collaborations between academia, industry, and the community help train students on innovative solutions in today's global economy. “In today’s world, collaboration is more critical than ever,” emphasized Neil Cooke, President and CEO, MITT. Cooke added, “Together, we are meeting the need for leading-edge innovation solutions while empowering our students with unique, immersive opportunities to learn in-demand skills in creative ways that are meaningful to the community we live in.”

Over the past year, students have worked closely with two RAMWC volunteers, both former Boeing engineers. MITT’s students researched, designed, and built a wind tunnel with input from project team members. The result of their work is currently on display at the sprawling 86,000-square-foot museum.

Their innovative design reflects the museum’s commitment to inspiring and educating the next generation of aviation and aerospace professionals. Through the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programming, the museum incorporates exhibits that tie into the STEM principles its educators teach.

RAMWC President and CEO Terry Slobodian remarked, “A wind tunnel seemed like the perfect tie-in and partnering with MITT seemed like a natural fit. We knew they had the capabilities and skilled students to help us. At the same time, we can bring awareness of MITT’s programs to the tens of thousands of students and visitors who come through our museum each year.”

MITT’s wind tunnel is helping to augment several of the museum’s STEM programs. Museum Educators Candace Kostna and Marc Neufeld have seen firsthand the connections students are making.

“It’s rewarding to witness the moment when a student connects Bernoulli’s Principle, which we teach in the classroom, to the real-life application that the wind tunnel provides,” Neufeld explains. “It’s also fun for students to see a visual representation of what causes aircraft turbulence.” Kostna adds, “This wind tunnel provides a hands-on reiteration of how the aerodynamic lift created by airflow makes heavier-than-air flight possible.”

MITT’s students spent more than 500 collective hours collaboratively designing and building the wind tunnel. The centrepiece of their creation is a high-velocity fan capable of generating an impressive airflow of up to 13,300 cubic feet per minute. This powerful fan enables the wind tunnel to achieve air velocity speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour, facilitating a wide array of experiences and simulations in the fields of aerodynamics and fluid mechanics.

The project team included students Alexander Mueller, Jasper Capistrano, Neil Castro, Enoch Wong, Richman Diaz, Jared Twedoclib, Tyson Sadiua-Raymundo, Denroy Errol Castillo Johnson, Sidney Robinson, Sharmaine Rodriguez, Dylan Gray, Kenny Nguyen, and Enoch Wong.

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