MU TAKES TO THE SKIES

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While most high school juniors are throwing paper airplanes at their friends, Harrisite Mitchell Mu flies real ones. After training with an instructor at the Andover Flight Academy for the last year, Mitchell has completed his first solo flight, and is looking to earn a pilot’s license as well as a career in Aerospace Engineering. But when did his enamor of the sky take off? “My love of flight started when I was a small child. Whenever we drove

When Mitchell arrived at THHS two years ago, he had no idea what he wanted to do in the future. An avid builder, he chose to take the plunge and join the Robotics team. Even though designing, programming, and constructing robots appealed to his strengths, Mitchell knew he needed something more. “It was the year I joined Science Olympiad that I knew I found my calling. As fate would have it, there was an event called Wright Stuff. The goal was to build a lightweight airplane with wood, powered by a rubber band, that stayed airborne [for] the longest [amount of time]. I won first place at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Invitational and NYC Regional competitions. It was an amazing feeling to finally connect my love of airplanes, of engineering, and the Wright Stuff competitions.”

When asked about how his piloting knowledge has affected his Science Olympiad training, Mitchell responded, “I formulated solutions as to why the plane was stalling at a certain angle, how to adjust the flight path of the plane in a circle, how much torque the rubber band needed to spin the propeller, and how to adjust the bank of the plane in flight.”

After his numerous successes in Science Olympiad, Mitchell began to research flying actual planes. Every weekend possible he’d head over to the flight academy and learn from an instructor about piloting a J-3 Piper Cub, also known as a tail dragger plane. “When I first walked onto [the] small Piper Cub plane and I performed my first takeoff and landing, my whole view on life changed,” he said. “When you are 2,000 [feet] in the air and you [look] down, you come to the realization that no worries can reach you. You are so focused on flying, there is no way to worry about a small problem you have on the ground.”

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