2016 Project: STRATOS Essay Contest for High School Juniors

SUN ‘n FUN’s Aerospace Center for Excellence is pleased to launch its third annual Project: STRATOS aerospace-themed essay contest for Polk County high school juniors. The one-page essays are due Feb. 1, 2016 as per the rules below. Any high school junior – public, private or home-schooled – is welcome to participate.

Twenty-four semi-finalists will be selected from the submitted essays and then interviewed. Ten of the 24 semi-finalists will be selected as finalists and awarded the distinction of being STRATOS Squadron Ambassadors during the 2016 SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In. Additional rewards and recognition for semi-finalists and finalists include Fly-In tickets, swag and more. See complete list below. More importantly, this distinction will look great on scholarship and college applications.

Complete details are available at https://flysnf.org////sun-n-fun-intl-fly-expo/project-stratos/

Rewards and recognition for finalists:

  • Nikon camera with memory card
  • Free week-long passes to SUN ‘n FUN 2016 for the winning students and their immediate family
  • Meet and greet / photo opportunity with the Brietling Jet Team
  • Participation in arrival of JetBlue charter flight
  • Exclusive polo shirt with mission patch
  • Project: STRATOS T-Shirt
  • SUN ‘n FUN keychain
  • Interviews on Florida Aviation Network and SUN ‘n FUN Radio
  • Publication of their picture and essay in SUN ‘n FUN Program guide
  • Possibility of a flight with one of the airshow performers during SUN ‘n FUN 2016 (Subject to restrictions. If a ride is not possible due to physical limitations, a suitable replacement will be awarded.)

Rewards and recognition for semi-finalists:

  • Two free day of choice passes to SUN ‘n FUN 2016
  • Publication of their name and school in the SUN ‘n FUN Program Guide
  • SUN ‘n FUN keychain
  • Project: STRATOS T-Shirt


The length of the essay should be no more than one page in 12 point Times New Roman font. Three primary topics are available to choose from, with possible subtopics in each, listed below. The subtopics are suggestions; students are free to select their own subtopic.

Essays should be emailed to STRATOS@sun-n-fun.org along with student’s shirt size and photo by Feb. 1, 2016.

Topics and potential subtopics:

1.       People in Aviation – What was their accomplishment, and why is it significant?

  • Women – Bessie Coleman, Betty Skelton, Jacqueline Cochrane, Barbara Morgan, Anne Lindbergh, Harriet Quimby
  • Men – Robert Goddard, Tony Jannus, Igor Sikorsky, Benjamin Davis, James Lovell, Jerry Ross, Story Musgrave, Robin Olds

2.     Events – What made this event significant to the evolution of aviation?

  • First manned glider flight – Otto Lilienthal
  • Apollo I Failure
  • 1910 launch of an airplane from the USS Birmingham
  • January 1st, 1914 – First commercial airplane flight
  • First Air Mail, 1911
  • First aerial bomb drop – Glenn Curtiss

3.      Aircraft/spacecraft – What made this a milestone for aviation?

  • Ornithopter Flying Machine
  • Blériot XI
  • North American P-51 Mustang
  • Messerschmitt ME-262
  • German V-2
  • Heinkel He 178
  • Miles M.52
  • Lockheed YF-12
  • Pioneer 10 space probe
  • Kepler space probe
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