Get Thinking

This year's Challenge takes flight September 19, 2016! Need some help getting started? Try these fun activities with a parent or guardian's permission.

Think about this: What is your vision for the helicopter of the future? There are several ways to think about this challenge. Here are some topics to consider:

  • improve on a structural or design element found in current helicopters
  • address a current or future environmental concern
  • combine new ideas and/or existing technologies with current helicopter designs
  • create a helicopter that responds to certain situations
  • design it with sustainable/environmentally friendly materials
  • design it to perform a task or have a role that improves our lives

Brainstorming & Identifying Problems

  • Using an easel pad or a whiteboard, list all the uses you know for helicopters: rescues, military, traffic reporting, fire fighting… are there others?
  • List all the unique qualities helicopters have that allow them to do what airplanes can't do. You can go to the Sikorsky website to see the development timeline of Sikorsky helicopters in the Sikorsky Timeline. You can also view images on online of various helicopters at the Sikorsky Image Gallery.
  • Research some of the innovations already in the works, such as "Firefly Technology," Sikorsky's all-electric helicopter technology that is currently being developed. Go to the Image Gallery to see a picture of the "Firefly Technology."
  • What challenges do helicopters help overcome today?
  • Jot down ideas about how new and improved helicopters might help address future challenges (e.g., utilizing limited resources, access to education, poverty, disaster relief, access to technology, etc.)

How Will Your Helicopter of 2050 Look?

Use pencils, markers, and/or paints to draw your helicopter.

  • What will it look like from the top, side, and bottom?
  • If there are unique parts that you want to show, draw them separately.
  • Can you show in your drawing how it will work?
  • What makes it unique and different from current helicopters?

Refine The Design

  • Look at your new design and see if you can do something differently.
  • Did you solve the problem that you set out to solve?
  • What else could you do to solve that problem?
  • You can build models of your design using paper, cardboard, clay, popsicle sticks, and other materials you have readily available.
  • Try "SketchUp Make" to build a 3D model online. It is a free online 3D design tool that will allow you to design your entry in 3D.

SCAMMPERR (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Minify, Magnify, Put to other uses, Eliminate, Reverse, Rearrange)

Change and improve your idea.

  • Substitute: What else can it do? How can I change it to do that? What other material can I use?
  • Combine: How can I combine this with another object or purpose?
  • Adapt: What else is like this? What could I copy and add to it? How can I change it?
  • Minify: How can I make it smaller? Miniature? Reduce parts? Change order, shape, form?
  • Magnify: How can I make it bigger? Higher? Longer? What to add? More time? Greater frequency?
  • Put to other uses: Are there new ways to use the item? Other places to use it?
  • Eliminate: What to subtract? Condense?
  • Reverse: Can you turn it backward? Upside down?
  • Rearrange: Can you interchange components?

Give It A Name:

Naming your "Helicopter of 2050" will be a lot of fun. Choose a name that best defines your design.

  • Name it for what it does or what makes it different.
  • Name it after yourself.
  • Name it with letters and numbers. Helicopters and aircraft are often named with letters and numbers.

Now that you have gone through the brainstorming activities, you should have a pretty good idea of what YOUR helicopter of the future will be. Be sure to enter your idea into the 6th Annual Helicopter 2050 Challenge.

Click here to enter your concept!

Facilitator Program
Helicopter 2050 Challenge