Students from Knob Noster High School, near Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, designed a $1.25 plastic switch cover for an important switch box inside the B-2 Spirit bomber. The cover is now being used in all operational B-2s at Whiteman, as well as the aircraft’s simulators.
The Stealth Panthers robotics team at Knob Noster High School worked with pilots and engineers to create and test the 3D-printed prototype in a B-2 Spirit training simulator.
“The B-2 Spirit cockpit is equipped with state-of-the-art, cutting-edge technology, but is a very cramped space, so something was needed to keep the pilots or other items from bumping into the switches,” said Capt. Keenan Kunst, Chief of Public Affairs for the United States Air Force’s 509th Bomb Wing. “The students were able to help us find a solution that was quick, affordable and effective.”
The base worked in partnership with the Knob Noster robotics team to come up with a solution, and although confident they could do it, Kunst said base officials were surprised at how quickly and efficiently the students produced something.
“Seventy-two hours after the initial design concept, the robotics team 3-D printed a cover for four important switches in the $2.2 billion aircraft,” said Brig. Gen. John Nichols, the 509th Bomb Wing commander.
Nichols commended the teenagers for their work at a ceremony at Whiteman, during which it was announced the school district was the recipient of a $2.25 million grant for robotics and STEM programs from the Department of Defense Education Activity.
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