LEGO helicopter competition sparks young imaginations

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Thu., Aug. 8, 2013
Even Dunigan works on his entry for the helicopter contest. Photos by Lisa Stone.
Even Dunigan works on his entry for the helicopter contest. Photos by Lisa Stone.

New England Air Museum, LEGO and Sikorsky came together recently to encourage young imaginations in the hopes of creating a future environmentally-friendly helicopter. On Aug. 2-4, NEAM hosted the “Helicopter 2050 Challenge” as one of several state-wide competitions that are being held to find the top creation made of LEGO blocks.

According to Brian Ingnanson, who is one of NEAM’s aerospace educators, all age groups will have a top competitor in the challenge. The models will be sent to Sikorsky, along with all other top competitors from across the state.

“This is the third annual challenge. Kids seem to really like the competition. The top competitors will be entered into the final round of competition and the final winner will receive $1,000, along with a tour of Sikorsky headquarters,” Ingnanson said. “We had approximately 30 children enter the competition on the first day. The competition has been going since June 15 and will finalize on September 30.”

Rosemary Dunigan brought her three grandsons to the competition. The youngest, Halford Billings, was only 17 months old. The other two were brothers, Kyle and Even Dunigan, 6 and 8, respectively.

“I love to play with LEGOs. Building helicopters is fun,” said Kyle.

“I play with LEGOs at home a lot. There are a lot of blocks here to play with,” said Even.

Before the competitors started creating their visions of the future, they were shown the basics of helicopter flight and given a tour of the helicopters at the museum by the aerospace educator. “After finishing the tour, the kids were brought into a room with several areas of LEGO blocks. The children sifted through all the LEGOs to pick out just the right ones for their inventions,” said Ingnanson.

For more information about being a part of the “Helicopter 2050 Challenge,” go online to to view the official rules and regulations for the contest.

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