One of the world’s most advanced bombers is flying with a plastic switch cover, designed by Missouri high school students, in its cockpit to prevent possible in-flight emergencies, the Air Force says.
The Stealth Panthers robotics team at Knob Noster High School near Whiteman Air Force Base worked with pilots and engineers last fall to create and test the 3D-printed prototype in a B-2 Spirit training simulator.
The covers, which cost about $1.25 to produce, are now installed in each operational B-2 at Whiteman and the simulator cockpits, said Capt. Keenan Kunst, a base spokesman.
“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,” Kunst said. “The students were able to help us find a solution that was quick, affordable and effective.”
The Air Force sought the partnership after one of Whiteman’s B-2s made an emergency landing Oct. 23 in Colorado Springs, Colo.