Las Vegas students to rebuild Wright brothers replica plane

Updated May 24, 2017 - 11:21 am

Once the Wright brothers got serious, it took them seven years to build their first working airplane. The students and staff of Rancho High School hope to get a replica of a Wright brothers plane in the air a little quicker than that.

The functional replica of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s second plane, a two-seater, was delivered to the school at 1900 E. Searles Ave., on May 15. Functional is a bit of an overstatement. The plane came in several large pieces and hasn’t flown since a minor crash a few years ago.

“The plan is to have it repaired well enough to be on display at Aviation Nation this year,” said Gary Archambeault, teacher and chairman for the aviation magnet academy. “That’s what we do here … We take planes apart and put them back together.”

Aviation Nation is an annual air show at Nellis Air Force Base. This year’s event is set for Nov. 11-12.

Rancho has more than 400 students in three aviation programs: the flight or pilot program, engineering and maintenance.

“We’ve got guys and gals that fly it, design it and fix it,” Archambeault said. “We’re really excited to have this particular plane to work with.”

The plane was built in 2003 by the University of Southern Utah in honor of the centennial of manned flight. It isn’t an exact replica; some compromises were made for modern Federal Aviation Administration regulations and safety. The gas tank, for example, is from a motorcycle.

“It looks close enough that when it’s in the air you can’t tell it’s not the exact thing,” said Bob Hale, a member of the nonprofit Air Force Association. “It was donated to a nonprofit in Ohio that flew it for a few years. After the accident, they just stored it, and I found out they were looking for a place to donate it to.”

Hale is also a retired staff member from Rancho’s aviation program. He worked out the logistics of acquiring the plane while Archambeault cleared the donation with the Clark County School District. The plane was carefully guided into the classroom shop by dozens of students. The wing assembly barely made it through the doorway.

“We’ve still got to find some people to help us with specific things,” said Hale, who coordinates between Archambeault and the Air Force Association. “We think we have someone to help with repairing the cloth, which is the biggest problem. I don’t think there will be any issue getting it ready for Aviation Nation.”

The project is set to begin in earnest this summer. Students and experts are set to meet weekly to work on the project.

“We’ll start looking at what is right and what is wrong and start repairing what is wrong,” Archambeault said. “It’s all project-based learning here. There’s a little book work, but it’s better to get out there and actually do it.”

Archambeault hopes to have the plane flight-ready in a few years and eventually wants to display it in a public area of the school, hanging from the ceiling.

“If it all works out, we’ll have it on cables but still be able to lower it down and take it out to fly it,” Archambeault said.

Contact F. Andrew Taylor at or 702-380-4532. Follow @FAndrewTPress on Twitter.

Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Driver dies in single-vehicle crash
One person is dead after an early Wednesday morning crash in the northwest valley. The single-vehicle crash was called in about 1:35 a.m. on Jones Boulevard just north of Deer Springs Way, according to Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Robert Stauffer. The driver, who was the only person inside the vehicle, died at the scene.
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services On Thursday, Uber launched its Uber Health platform for healthcare providers. Medical facilities, rehab centers, clinics and hospitals can book rides for patients from a centralized dashboard – no app required. According to Techcrunch, Uber Health general manager Chris Weber noted some 3.6 million Americans miss appointments due to lack access to reliable transportation. Uber’s endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the U.S. Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidized rides for breast cancer screening in the U.S., to many more. Last summer, over 100 healthcare organizations joined the platform during a private beta. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas firefighters put out blaze along Bonanza Road
Las Vegas firefighters put out a blaze that burned for about 15 minutes Feb. 20, 2018, along Bonanza Road, across from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Jeff Mosier/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cabana Market Shooting -- Persons of Interest
On February 3, 2018 at approximately 1:57 p.m., patrol officers were dispatched to a parking lot located in the 3900 block of East Owens Avenue to investigate a report that a man had been shot. Responding officers located an unresponsive adult male suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like