DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Instead of planes in the sky, there were pumpkins flying at the Air Force Museum on Saturday.
This weekend was the 18th annual Wright Patterson Air Force Base Pumpkin Chuck. The event took place on Oct. 8 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
“I’m just amazed because it goes really, really far,” Lorenzo Falasca, an attendee, said. “It’s just really cool to watch.”
These pumpkin launchers really pack a punch. David Mollenhauer, captain for Team Ethos, discussed their launcher.
“This is a very highly detailed engineered machine,” Mollenhauer said. “Our best shot to date is 3792 feet. The exit velocity – somewhere around 440 miles an hour.”
Their machine is custom-built and holds the world record for the farthest flung pumpkin for its type.
Team Ethos have traveled to competitions, but for them, Wright-Patt is home.
“In all honesty, this contest, here at Wright-Patterson is one of my favorites. It’s like a family. It’s calm, it’s enjoyable. It’s just really nice,” Mollenhauer said.
This event is about more than just flinging pumpkins. It’s also about STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. It takes STEM to catapult a pumpkin down the field.
And spectators got to see the physics in action – and even try it themselves.
“We were the first ones to do the human-powered pumpkin chucker,” Antonio Falasca, an attendee, said.
The Pumpkin Chuck started as something fun for the engineers in the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at the base, and quickly grew into the event it is today.
“We opened it up to the community to share our love for engineering and STEM with students in the area, and and families of people who work on the base.” Lily Arcusa, Director of Engineering at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, said. “It’s a really great way to get outside, and build, and launch some pumpkins.”