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Jill Vorreiter: Flugtag
Posted 08/18/2016 09:28AM

I'm Jill Vorreiter, a junior here, and this project is by far one of the coolest things I've done.

I injured my arm the day before we started having meetings for the Flugtag, and I'm still having to work around it. That being said, this has honestly still been the greatest summer I have ever had.

In the middle of my sophomore year, I really started to take an interest in aeronautics, but I didn't know what that truly entailed. I was sitting in Mr. Hammer's Art 2 class when he found out the Flugtag was coming to Louisville, and I hadn't actually heard of it before that, so he played a video of some of them at the end of class and I immediately fell in love with the idea.

At the first meeting I realized that my best friend was doing it, and like every normal person I was just happy to know someone. Now it's so much more than that. The first day, most of us hardly knew one person, much less everyone.

Those first couple days were actually pretty hard, we didn't get a whole lot done compared to what we are doing now. We had to learn what everyone was thinking and what their thinking process was. It's easy to do something when you know exactly what you are trying to do, but with a project like this, you have to show everybody what your idea is and sometimes that means being shot down. The best thing about that is that once I trusted them enough to tell them what I thought, that's where our best ideas came in. We all brought new tweaks and new perspectives which really helped get us going. You also really find out how others react and how to turn that into something amazing.

It was a lot of team building in the beginning, and that wasn't even something that happened on purpose. We also found holes and solutions in each other's plans, making them stronger. For instance, when we put the panels on the back of the wings, we kept finding easier and better ways to do it to make it look cleaner and better. We actually started out with trying to structure it with wood, and quickly found out that that wasn't going to be our best bet, so it was a lot of trial and error. And we got frustrated. It wasn't an easy task, especially when most people came in thinking, oh it'll just be something to do this summer. It was really hard, and we failed more times than we got something right. Sometimes the math was off, or we didn't cut something right, or something just straight up broke. But we built a lot of stamina. We worked through it, even having to re-plan our entire approach.

It's definitely not the same vision we started with, and we all had to learn extremely fast. Let's face it, aside from our teachers, none of us had any sort of degree, much less engineering jobs or courses. We had to work with what we had in the amount of time we had. We didn't have unlimited resources like some teams do.

All of us pitched in something, and a lot of it was spur of the moment type thing. Like when we realized we needed wheels, one girl said she had a bike they didn't use, and another said that they knew somebody that might have some. It was a lot of give and take.

That kind of struggle is what makes it so amazing end, because we had little to start with, but we made it incredible. We accomplished it. And that means something.

This event is especially important to me because I'm really interested in this type of stuff. In the middle of the project I actually took a week off to go to flight camp at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and because building it was so hands on, the things they were explaining to me just seemed to make sense, and I didn't even have to take a yearlong class. It's definitely motivated me even more so that not only is an aeronautical career possible, it's something that I truly want to pursue.

I've found out that aviation is something I have a deep passion for. And I'm not going to get this kind of experience anywhere else. This is what they were doing at one of the best university's in the country that specializes in this subject area, and here I was, a junior in high school, living my dream just two days a week, and it's been the coolest thing I've done so far. Just being in a project like this, builds who you are as a person, your character, your accountability, and your relationships, and it makes you feel like you can just take on the world.

5801 Fegenbush Lane Louisville, Kentucky 40228

P 502 671-2010

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