July Aerospace Competition


Natasha Potemkin

By a paper thin margin, the Durango High School Aerospace Design Team snagged second place at the international competition held in Orlando, Florida this past summer after bringing home a win in the summer of 2017.

The competition, run by Anita Gale, has been won by DHS seven times in the last eighteen years. Thirteen students from Durango attended this competition, all of which were members of the Aerospace Design Team.

“I think it’s a really great experience and everybody should do it. (The competition) was super awesome,” said Denzel Farmer, a sophomore who attended the competition.  

Competitors are from all over the globe, with teams coming from Pakistan, India, and the U.K. Teams are placed into four different ‘companies’ which go on to design and propose a space settlement to judges and CEO’s of real life companies.

“I took away how to work with other people and how to make sure everything gets done. Leadership, too, which I think is really useful in every aspect of life,” said Farmer.  

The competition puts students in realistic situations, and while they may be stressful, those who have attended the competition have found them to be great learning experiences.

“Out of everything I’ve done in high school, aerospace is by far the most real life and useful experience I’ve ever had,” said DHS Jr. Madeleine Burns.

The Aerospace Team at DHS has done exceedingly well at all competitions, however,  this year they did not bring home a win.

“Last year we had jaw dropping visuals. I really think they just don’t want Durango to dominate” said Sabine Furtauer, the sponsor of the team.

Furtauer believes that if people came from around the world year after year and Durango was winning every single year, it would be hard to keep them involved. For this coming year, Furtauer plans to keep the preparation for the next competition the same as usual.

“My role is more as a coach than a teacher, but one thing I’m hoping to do this year is find someone who’s interested in doing technical drawing,” said Furtauer. If the team has a better base for visuals, next year’s competition could be won once again.

The team isn’t perfect but it has been one of the most consistent teams there at each competition. The members have an understanding of what it takes to work hard, even if that means staying up all night just to get calculations as precise as possible.


“Durango is certainly the strongest team there year after year. I’m not exaggerating the team’s abilities. They’ve won seven times!” said Furtauer.