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The Uplifting Elegance of Engineering

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Visitors to Nedderman Hall have a new reason to look skyward as they enter the building’s atrium. A Schweizer 1-35 glider was suspended from the ceiling in January after being restored by students from the design and race car engineering teams from the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) Department. 

A restored glider hangs in the Nedderman Hall atrium

Schweizer 1-35 Glider

The project began when Teresa Sykes, a Ph.D. candidate in UTA’s Geology Department, contacted Associate Professor Bernd Chudoba in MAE and told him she wanted to donate her father’s glider with the stipulation that it could be flown or displayed, but not sold.  He agreed, and Professor Bob Woods, seeing an opportunity for a unique student project, took over.

“This has been a good project for the students. We had a national champion glider pilot here in graduate school, so we were tempted to fly it, but we chose to put it on display instead. It was a big collaboration between students for credit, student volunteers, alumni and the community. It’s a huge success for the College and it makes a stunning statement of what engineering is all about when you enter Nedderman Hall,” Woods said. 

A restored glider hangs in the Nedderman Hall Atrium

Schweizer 1-35 Glider

The student teams did the work to FAA certification standards with assistance from an FAA-certified mechanic, including its tail and the trailer that accompanied the glider. Dan Mockler (MS ’12), an alumnus with experience in refinishing aircraft bodies, also assisted, and Woods offered technical advisement. Local body shop Precision Auto Body painted it for free, and the shop owner even donated his time on the weekends to sand and prepare the glider for paint. When the glider was finished, the entire team worked with UTA’s Facilities Management Department on its placement and lift up to the ceiling.