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The sky's the limit

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May 12, 2006

Thomasville -- Natasha Barbley will graduate next week, but her future's already taking off thanks to her interest in science. With some help from her brother, it may lead to a better way to fly an airplane.

Thomas County senior Natasha Barbely flips through her work from the last year; it's work that could send her future soaring. "I've always thought planes were really cool, because, you know, flying on them is just amazing, how you can get tons of metal up into the air, and I wanted to, maybe, learn a little more about them," she said.

 A thought during science class sent Natasha to talk with engineering students and professors at Auburn to design a better airplane wing. "What happens is airflow starts to detach about one fourth of the way down the wing, and I wanted to find a way to maybe re-attach the airflow back onto the wing so it would have more lift."

More lift means less gas burned during takeoff, so Natasha designed a wing with a slit. "The airflow goes through it, and originally I though because of Bernoulli's Principle, it would suck the airflow back down the wing."

There's more to be done. "I still need to figure out what kind of material the flap is made of, what kind of surface air I want the slot as it goes up to be, and where the slot action needs to be or what angle. I mean lots of things still need to be worked out."

But for Natasha, the sky's the limit. "But this could be the wave of the future. You never know, anything's possible." Natasha is planning to attend Georgia Southwestern this fall. She has already been accepted to Georgia Tech for her sophomore year.

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