CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Three students won an FAA airport design contest by building West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) in the popular video game, Minecraft.
From the nearly 3,000 students that originate from 18 different countries and all 50 states in the K-6 Primary Airport category Brian, Sean and Abby of the West Virginia MountainAirs beat out the competition.
13 News sat down with the MountainAirs and their parents to talk about the experience.
Abby Roe, 11, of Huntington, and Brian and Sean Bartelo, 11 and 9, of Buffalo, New York, are all homeschooled and were brought together through a space class taught by two of Abby’s heroes: Janet Ivey-Duensing and Artemis Westenberg.
With Brian’s hidden love and passion for aerospace, Sean’s desire to become an aerospace engineer, and Abby’s interest in how things work, they made a good team to compete in the eight-week competition.
Using Google Earth and pictures, the MountainAirs got to building their version of the local airport, with the use of bioluminescent fungi and a self-driving car lane out front.
The three find Minecraft to be a good educational tool.
I really like how it’s being used because now. People that thought of it as some boring video game or something that’s really hard, and there’s no point in learning it. Now it gives them the chance to see what Minecraft is capable of hosting.Abby Roe
Brian brought up the way Minecraft can be scaled. During their time building, one block in Minecraft translated to three feet in real life. This is how they Scaled their designs and final building.
They had multiple reasons to choose CRW as the airport to design. All three of them did the competition previously but not together, and since Brian and Sean did their local airport before, they all chose CRW. Another reason was Chuck Yeager, the man who broke the sound barrier in an X-1 plane.
Brian talks about how the X-1 plane has connections to both New York and West Virginia.
Using in-game building blocks that include different colored concrete blocks, shroom lights, and scaffolding, they rebuilt CRW in eight weeks.
During their time building CRW, they say a hacker came in multiple times and kicked them out of their Minecraft world.
The hacker and a group of their friends came into the world a week before the project was due and destroyed a third of the student’s work. Luckily, they had a backup world so they only lost a couple of days of work.
With the children’s perseverance and love of all things STEM and engineering, they won in their category. On top of a lanyard with a medal and an autograph from Gov. Jim Justice, Abby made something special to commemorate their winnings as a team. A 3D-printed trophy for the three of them.
The parents talked about how the students being homeschooled let them incorporate their love for STEM.
The MountainAirs gave encouraging last words to all kids who want to work in STEM fields.
Some friendly words of advice. You do you. Find your passion, and go for it. Fill your life with things you enjoy the most.Abby, 11
Never, ever give up.Brian, 11
Always be positive.Sean, 9
Abby also left a message for women in STEM:
To view the MountainAirs’ submission to the contest, click here.