Irving High School has clinched another victory at the State Governor’s Real World Design Challenge (RWDC). This makes four years in a row that the students in the School of Aviation Science at Irving High School have sailed through the state competition to the National RWDC in Washington D.C.  

The annual state competition tests students’ engineering skills and knowledge by asking them to address an industry-related challenge. This year’s challenge asked students to design a drone with the capability to carry packages from point A to point B. 

Unlike years past, Irving High’s RWDC is represented by a single student, senior John Nguyen. He’s incredibly grateful for what he’s learned especially since he flew this project solo.

“This competition has exposed me to all facets of aviation,” he says. “When I was designing the drone, I had to research the Federal Aviation Administration, the aviation industry, and how it functions.” 

 Because this year’s prompt is a modified version of last year’s project, Nguyen utilized Roblox, an online gaming platform, to design a drone with a carrier that fits inside, a needed change from the original design of placing the carrier outside of the drone.

Rachel Easterling, aviation teacher at Irving High, credits Nguyen’s victory to his work ethic. 

“John has put a lot of effort into the Real World Design Challenge,” Easterling says. “I am very proud of him and his accomplishments.”

Nguyen will represent Irving High at the virtual National RWDC on Saturday, April 24, which he sees as another opportunity to bring him closer to his future goals. 

Nguyen developed a love of flying early in life. Originally from Vietnam, Nguyen, along with his family, traveled to Asia often to see extended family. It was on these flights that Nguyen felt at home. 

“When I enter the airport, it’s the vibe that interests me,” he says. “I get on the plane and feel like I fit in.” 

That same feeling has carried into high school. Nguyen’s dream job is a commercial airline pilot, and he’s well on his way. Once he graduates from Irving High, he plans on attending either Embry-Little Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., or the University of North Dakota. He will get his bachelor’s degree in science and begin his career as a pilot.