Slimming Seattle’s Airspace

The old Seattle airspace (black) overlaid on the new Seattle airspace (red).

In the most recent update of the National Airspace System, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has substantially reduced the size of the heavily-regulated Class Bravo Airspace that radiated 30 nautical miles surrounding Sea-Tac Airport.

Class Bravo airspace is the most restrictive type of controlled airspace. Only the busiest airports in the United States are given Class Bravo airspace.  Its main duty is to separate heavy commercial traffic from small planes.

Before the December 15th update of the National Airspace System, Seattle’s Class Bravo extended mostly in a 30 nautical mile radius around Sea-Tac airport.  This wasted much space because most arriving and departing airliners were coming in or leaving straight north or south.  That is to say, there was much more space being allocated than there was being used.

The latest update greatly reduces this unnecessary space, making it much easier for small planes to get around without the bother of getting clearance through the airspace.

“I think the new airspace will greatly help student pilots,” said Jacob Hoag, a student pilot and Junior at Aviation High School. “The practice area is larger, giving student pilots more room without having to worry about transport jets.”

Student pilots are generally inexperienced pilots who are training for their Private Pilot’s License, the most basic certification offered by the FAA.

Keeping things basic will prevent dangerous airspace incursions.  An airspace incursion is when a pilot unknowingly enters controlled airspace without a clearance.  These simple mistakes can be both costly and dangerous.

Such an incursion can make the pilot get a fine or even lose their certificate.

“To the East and West,” said Michael Marinkovich, student pilot and AHS Junior, “the airspace is much slimmer and makes it easy to climb out to the practice area earlier before hitting the Bravo.”

The new airspace, however, is not without problems.

To enter Class Bravo airspace, a pilot has to contact the perpetually busy Seattle Approach/Departure frequency, request a clearance, change their transponder code, and wait for their clearance to be accepted.

Despite the airspace being reduced greatly, in one area it was actually extended.

“When I was flying my solo cross countries,” Marinkovich said, “I’d get to Kenmore and climb to 5000 [feet], but now, the airspace was extended, so you have to wait to climb until you’re out around Paine Field.”

Quantum Levitation

Example of Quantum Levitation

At Tel Aviv University in Israel, researchers have created a superconductor that levitates a puck, due to the phenomenon known as quantum levitation. This discovery has broad implications that may revolutionize the transportation industry within our lifetime.

This levitation effect is explained by the Meissner effect, which is when the magnetic field is expelled from the superconductor in the process of its transition from the superconducting state. Thus, a superconductor expels almost all magnetic variations by setting up electric currents near its surface.

The researchers who demonstrated their superconducting track started with a single crystal sapphire wafer and coated this with a thin ceramic material known as yttrium barium copper oxide. Although this ceramic layer has no special magnetic or electrical properties at room temperature, when it is cooled below -185 degrees Celsius the material becomes a superconductor. In other words, it encounters no resistance, which means no energy loss.

Also, it is important to note that superconductor remains trapped in midair, which is known as quantum locking.

What this entails is that no outside forces can affect the spatial movement of the disc. Simply put, since the superconducting has no efficiency losses, it would make the perfect mode of transportation.

However, there is a catch. As mentioned early, this disc must be cooled down to -185 degrees Celsius with liquid nitrogen. So, in a real life situation and at its current point in development, it will not be taking over the transportation industry. The Noble prize in physics (as well as a very large sum of money) will go to the person who is able to demonstrate superconducting effects at room temperature.

“When we discover room temperature superconductors,” said Associate Professor of Physics at Ithaca College Matthew C. Sullivan, “they will be everywhere and used in nearly every electrical device. The world will change radically in just a few years—of course, we have to discover materials that can superconduct above room temperature first—but I am confident we will eventually.”

This is not to say that people have not been having fun with this concept, however. Researchers at Université Paris Diderot in France have created MagSurf. They have turned a skateboard-like platform into one giant superconductor. Dr. Marie-Aude Méasson from the Université Paris Diderot explained how the idea came to fruition.

“Many researchers in the field of superconductivity were involved in the 100th birth of the discovery of superconductivity,” said Méasson, “and all events related to it. So, our team, of the Université Paris Diderot, had the idea to built a human-size levitating object that can also move, in order to promote science mainly to children. The skateboard was the most crazy idea.”

Not only has Marty McFly noticed this hoverboard, but researchers in Japan working for SmartPlanet are reportedly working on scaling this technology for levitating a train.

Although this hoverboard may sound like a child’s toy, Dr. Marie-Aude Méasson thinks that superconductivity may one day revolutionize the transportation industry.

“Researchers can find new material with good properties and not too expensive to produce. In that case,” says Méasson, “it would be possible to revolutionize the transport industry, not only thanks to levitation, but maybe thanks to superconducting motors,or thanks to superconducting energy keepers.”

However, Sullivan is not so certain if superconductivity will revolutionize the transportation industry within our lifetime.

“I am hopeful we will,” said Sullivan, “but admit there is a good chance that we won’t.  If we do, superconductors will revolutionize more than transportation.  If not, the cost of using superconductors— keeping them at liquid nitrogen temperatures — will always outweigh their benefits.”

Although progress must still be made in the field of superconductivity, today we still use it for many applications.

“Superconductivity has a lot of uses in everyday use as it is,” said Sullivan, “in MRI machines in hospitals, electrical power cables, and cell phone towers.”  

The discovery of the Meissner effect led to the theory of superconductivity by researchers Fritz and Heinz London in 1935. Today, the development of this theory is still being studied, and the implications of this work have the potential to completely revolutionize the transportation industry.

An Inkling of Creativity

The new Inkling transforms sketches into digital drawings

By allowing artists to store their sketches done in the ‘real world’ in an electronic format, the new Wacom Inkling removes the need for hours of tedious scanning and retouching.

The Inkling comes in two parts: a receiver and a pen. Users simply clip the receiver to the top of the paper and start drawing. The receiver tracks the pen’s placement on the paper with ultrasonic and infrared, while the pen itself uses a pressure sensor to record the thickness of the lines. This is then stored inside the receiver for later download. Users can even store layers of a single drawing.

“Inkling can export with layers directly to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as Autodesk SketchBook Pro and SketchBook Designer,” said Wacom’s website. “You can create layers with Inkling both during the sketching process and within the Sketch Manager Application [when you upload to the computer].”

“The ability to jot down concepts and pictures virtually anywhere and have them stored in a vector format for editing later is fantastic,” said Patrick Shettlesworth, a concept artist who beta-tested the prototype Inkling. “Vector is a type of digital art that makes a picture up out of points and curves rather than pixels. The upside to this is that you can resize your art to any resolution without losing fidelity.”

This ability to scale up a picture without losing resolution is particularly important, since according to the Wacom website, the Inkling can’t record any paper size larger than an eight by eleven inch rectangle.  The artist can use as big of a piece of paper as they want; they just have to make sure to move the receiver around to capture the whole drawing.

Inkling is the perfect tool for artists in the entertainment industry, where having access to sketches made in meetings can make the creative process much easier.

“Inkling works best for sketches that are used at the beginning of the creative process,” said the Wacom Inkling website, “such as rough concept illustrations and storyboards.”

“I see this mostly being used as a tool for meetings,” said Shettlesworth. “There are some professional art jobs requiring a fairly agile artist. Storyboarding comes to mind. Being able to sit in a room with the director or writers and scribble down sequential scenes that you could later take back to a computer and uprez [increase resolution] to make final art boards from would be very useful.”

Before paying almost two hundred dollars for the Inkling, amateur artists should remember that though it is a useful tool, it may not be the best choice.

“I think anything that makes you draw on a regular basis is a good tool,” said Shettlesworth. “However, I don’t see the Inkling becoming a staple of most artists’ careers.”

In addition, the Inkling can’t yet totally replace a simple paper sketchbook for easy on-the-go drawing.

“If the receiver shifts or slips on the paper at all, the whole drawing will go off register. It also only works on a completely flat surface so you can’t just clip it to the top of a sketchbook and hold it in your lap while you doodle,” said Shettlesworth. “It needs to be laying down on a table. Also, it has problems in direct sunlight—messes with the signal somehow.”

There is also the fact that the Inkling only works with pen. Not all artists enjoy using ink as their medium for sketching, and many feel like a pencil would be easier to work with.

“I like using a pencil so I can draw lightly and edit my sketch with an eraser before laying down darker, final lines,” said Shuttlesworth. “The Inkling has no sense of what is sketch and what is final… when you download the art to a computer you can just delete the sketch layer from your download and keep the final art layer. It takes some getting used to.”

Being the Good AHSamaritan

Aviation High School has the opportunity to help food banks for the first time through the school lunches that students eat, all because of the revised Good Samaritan Act, this act will allow students to donate to those in need everyday.

With the declining economy, food banks have a problem, a big problem. They do not have enough food to feed everyone that comes to them. All those people who have no way to feed themselves are not getting the food they need from the food bank, but things are about to change thanks to the new, revised Good Samaritan Act.

For those who do not know what the old Good Samaritan Act is about, it is a law that lets companies and regular people donate extra food they have.  It allows them to donate without the liability problems they might have for the food they donated to food banks and other places where one can donate food. Liability problems being people getting sick from the food that is donated and other effects donated food may have on those who eat it.

However, that law did not have schools on the “not-liable” list. This missing piece in the Good Samaritan Act was a factor in all the food that is wasted every day by schools.  But that amount of waste is about to go down, if students and schools start donating.

Recently, Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA)  found the loop hole in the act and revised it to allow schools to donate food and not be liable for the food they donate to food banks in the area.  Now schools across the nation can donate all the extra food they have from school lunches and other food that comes through the school.  

All students know that school food is not the best, and most of us avoid the school lunches at all costs. But with food banks, every piece of food they can get their hands on counts, especially with the falling economy.

That is where things get a little messy.

Food banks want all the food they can get a hold of, so people should start donating all the extra food they have. Well, what if the food is rotten or close to expiring? The problem is now no one is responsible for the food anymore.  So if no one is reliable for the quality food anymore, who watches for all the bad food that sneaks into the food banks?

But since the Good Samaritan Act has been revised, the school is no longer responsible for any of the bad food that ends up at the food banks. No longer can the school get blamed fro any bad food that goes through the food banks and into the hands of the needy.  The only people who are responsible are the food banks.  It makes sense to have only them be responsible, less legal issues to deal with.  But that does not mean that schools and other donating people can be careless.  They should be careful with what food they send to food banks.

This is where the students and school staff can come in and help the food banks out.  If schools should start donating all the extra food they have, students and staff should check the food items that can be donated before sending it all to the food bank.  This way less money can be spent on workers sorting food and that time can be can be put towards getting more food.

However, there should be some check in place that makes sure that all the food that goes from the school to the food bank is a fairly good condition. No rotten food or expired milk, but the good leftovers. The kind of food that students would still eat, because no one wants to eat bad food.

Aviation High School should start donating its extra food to food banks.  Most schools doing it now are on the East Coast of the U.S. AHS could be that lighthouse example, leading the way to getting all the schools on the West Coast to donate food to food banks.

Russian Mars Rover Falls Short

Russian scientests hard at work on Phobos Grunt

The Russian Mars rover Phobos-Grunt was launched on November 8th from the Site 45 in the Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft was supposed to reach the Martian atmosphere around October 9th, 2012. All was going as planned, until design failures caused it to not leave Earth’s atmosphere.

“We are deeply sorry about the failure of Phobos-Grunt,” wrote Lev Zelenyi, director of the Space Research Institute and Chair of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Solar System Exploration Board, in a letter to fellow scientists and mission team members. “We hope in [the] future to continue our collaboration on space science projects.”

On December 7th, Zelenyi said the reason for the failure has yet to be determined, although he suspects a rupture in one of the main fuel tanks.

The Phobos Grunts failure might have more bad effects than just the ones it caused for ROSCOSMOS.

“Flotsam from the stranded Mars spacecraft quickly re-entered Earth’s atmosphere,” according to MSNBC, “and were reportedly listed in the space object catalog maintained by the United States Strategic Command.”

There is a large amount of space debris floating around Earth, with NASA alone launching up fifty satellites per year. This number might seem alarming, but it’s not the quantity of the debris, but the size of the debris that matters. The large majority of space debris (an estimated tens of millions of objects) is less than one square centimeter large.

Fred Whipple, leading member of the Harvard college observatory demonstrated that particles of this size were too small to maintain their velocity when they encountered the upper atmosphere. Instead, they quickly decelerate and then fell to Earth non melted. In order to classify these sorts of objects, he coined the term “micro-meteorites.”

Micro-meteorites seem like they would be dangerous to people, falling to Earth. On the contrary, the only real threat space debris poses is to other spacecraft leaving Earth’s orbit.

On “The Space Show,” a popular radio and Internet program hosted by David Livingston, the head of the Russian space agency has explicitly said that the main propellant tanks for Phobos-Grunt are made of aluminum.

“Aluminum has a much lower melting temperature, so going with the statement by the Russians that the main propellant tanks are aluminum,” said Nicholas Johnson, the Orbital Debris expert for the ‘Space Show,’ “that certainly would significantly reduce the chances of any harmful substance reaching the surface of the Earth,” 

“I’m happy to report,” Johnson said, “since the beginning of the Space Age, there’s been no report of anybody being injured by space debris re-entering.” (Interviews Courtesy of Leonard David)

The failure of Phobos-Grunt could mean many problems for ROSCOSMOS, the Russian Space Agency.

ROSCOSMOS is going to have to deal with many problems because of Phobos-Grunt. The stock holders of ROSCOSMOS probably aren’t too faithful in the agency, seeing how they now have a “0/19 success rate in Mars Missions” according to the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) foundation.

The rover Phobos-Grunt also had many experiments on board, which will now have to wait until another possible Rover arises. These experiments included things like Bill Nye’s Planetary Foundation experiment, and multiple Chinese experiments, that were involving 10 Kilograms of Cobalt 57, a radioactive metal.

Some people might be worried about the possible radiation being released into Earth’s atmosphere as Phobos-Grunt erodes away.

 “The Cobalt 57 will not pose a threat of radioactive contamination.” Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov said. “Phobos-Ground weighs 13.2 metric tons (14.6 tons), which includes 11 metric tons (12 tons) of highly toxic fuel. Experts have warned that if the fuel has frozen, some could survive entry into Earth and pose a serious threat if it falls over populated areas.” He says that any debris falling  to Earth would be very unlikely, but were it to happen, those problems could be catastrophic.

“It is said only that the probes’ fragments could rain down anywhere along a broad swath,” Isachenkov says, “between 51.4 degrees north to 51.4 degrees south, which would includes most of Earth’s landmass.”

The cost of the Phobos-Grunt program was a fairly hefty toll on ROSCOSMOS, and it would have been even if the program succeeded.

According to Zeleny, a funding adjustment was made to the Federal Space Program in March-April 2008 for a shortfall in the Phobos-Grunt project. As of 2008, the price tag on the project was expected to reach 2.4 billion rubles ($74,951,040) by 2012.”

There is some conspiracy over the reasons that Phobos-Grunt might have failed. In extreme cases, it is speculated that the United States government has intentionally sabotaged the Mars rover. In actuality, the cause of the failure is still being determined, but ROSCOSMOS scientists predict faulty wiring in the right engine.

Jet Pack Market Gains Interest

Photo courtesy of

Jet packs have been dreamed of since before the birth of flight, and up until now have been completely impractical. With the revolutionary flight of the Martin Jet pack, the idea of personal jet pack flight is becoming a reality.

“This successful test brings the future another step closer,” said the inventor of the Martin jet pack, Glenn Martin, on his website.

A few years ago, the altitude record for a jet pack flight was about 50 feet. The Martin Jet Pack took that record to a whole new level.  The latest flight was over 5,000 feet and at over highway speed.

The pack has been under construction for over 27 years now, with great progress. The company is now in an intense period of testing so they can refine their technology. The flight was unmanned, and was used to test the company’s new ballistic parachute.

“This test also validated our flight model, proved thrust to weight ratio and proved our ability to fly a jet pack as an unmanned aerial vehicle,” said Martin, “which will be key to some of the Jet pack’s future emergency/search & rescue and military applications.”

Building a jet pack is not free, and it is costing Martin Jetpack quite a bit of money. The company is currently working on officiating a $100-million per year contract with a government organization, the name of which they are currently keeping undisclosed in order to continue their work in private. The contract requires that they produce 500 of their jet packs every year, and the organization claims that they want the jet packs for access in civil emergencies.

This secret organization is not their only form of funding. They also signed a $12 million joint-venture deal. This means that Martin is going to join another undisclosed company, share stocks, and work together towards a common goal.

“For us this is an excellent commercial step,” Company Chief Executive Richard Lauder said on his website. “We have somebody who is willing to put $12 million on the table because they believe there is a sizable market in their country.” 

The joint venture would be run through a newly created company. The undisclosed aircraft company that supplied the funds would have a controlling 51% stake. Both Mr. Lauder and Mr. Martin would be directors of the new company.

“The joint venture will give us a lifeline but it doesn’t give us the sort of venture capital we need,” said Mr. Lauder, “We’re expecting that could become a $20 million turnover business once we are up to full speed.”

The Martin jet pack is not the only one one the market right now. Yves Rossy, an ex Swiss Air Force pilot, flew his custom jet pack on May 7th, 2010 across the Grand Canyon. Instead of going with the sci-fi name “Jet Pack,” Rossy has chosen a more professional name for it, the Jet Powered Wing.

Although the Martin Jet pack is not the only jet pack in development, it seems to be the most popular. It has won a spot in TIME magazines Top 50 inventions of 2010.

“The Jet pack” says Josh Quittner, editor in large for TIME in his video spoiler on the TIME website,

 “was sort of a requirement for top 50 inventions.”

The jet pack is becoming a more and more popular idea amongst the people of the world, especially as it recurs in the media. With the evolution of the Martin jet pack the jet pack wont just be a popular idea, but instead a commonly used means of transportation.

Although the Martin jet pack is the most advanced and most available jet pack as of right now, new styles such as the jet powered wing of Yves Rossy will start to arise. Aviation is taking one more huge step forward, with flight becoming a personal experience rather than just a ticket price and a few uncomfortable hours in a plane. Glenn Martin and Co. have changed the world of flight forever.

Celebrating “yaD etisoppO”

Juniors John Galiger, Cody Waugh, Gary Trujilllo pretend to participate in the much-wanted Backwards Day. Photo by: Max Wienke

The week of January 23rd is the next Spirit Week, and Aviation High School will celebrate a holiday that not everyone knows about.

There has always been confusion about when Opposite Day actually takes place. The official date for Opposite Day is the twenty-fifth of January.

“I did not know that Opposite Day was on that date,” said AHS freshman Jaclyn Wing, “but I do know that it is when you do most everything the opposite of what is normal.”

Everyone seems to know what it is, but not when it is. Although, people do not even notice the fact that they celebrate the spirit of Opposite Day all the time.

At Aviation the holiday is celebrated in a different way. The twenty-fifth of January falls coincidentally under the time Spirit Week is scheduled. There are many Spirit Days falling under the theme of “opposites” all leading up to Tolo.

Tolo, which happens on January 28th,  is opposite in itself. It is opposite from the traditional dances where boys ask girls,  this time girls have the opportunity to ask guys. The theme of Tolo is also opposite, it is Beauty and the Geek. ………

A Spirit Day during the week is Super Hero and Super Villan day. With the school representing themselves as do-gooders of main stream comics as well as the malevolent creatures that cause chaos over the cities, they show the opposite forces of good and bad.

According to ASB, other spirit days that pertain to opposite-ness, although it wasn’t exactly planed that way.

“I personally did not realize that Opposite Day was during the week,” said sophomore class captain, Royce Le,  “it is all one big coincidence. Fake Injury Day is different from the norm because it is a fun way for students to experience a different perspective they never had before, a handicap worked into their normal day life. Animal Day is opposite from the normal, professional dress code, our peers get to break free from the chain of collectivism and experience to be wild animals and make a statement as an individual.”

Now that some students have heard about the existence of Opposite Day  they want to take part in it.

“I think that Superhero/supervillian Day will be the best out of all the spirit days,” says freshman Cynthia Tran, “I’m still planning on my outfit for the day, but I do plan on going a little crazy. I think that most students will participate in it because, I mean, who doesn’t want to become a superhero/supervillian for a day?!”

After hearing about the day, students think it would be interesting if ASB took a more literal approach with the holiday rather than the diverse, creative ways like Superhero Supervillian Day.  They want a day that is specifically an Opposite Day.

“I do think that the school should do something for it,” says Wing, “because it would be another fun way for the students to be involved in school without becoming a part of a club or other activities.”

ASB has not scheduled a Spirit Day that is an actual Opposite Day for the week that leads up to the dance, but now knowing that students find the theme interesting and fun they are considering the idea of Opposite Day for next year.

“All days recommended are always in our minds when we consider and choose spirit days,” said Le, “and it will definitely be added to the list.”

Some of the ideas that students have about a potential spirit day with the opposite theme include all the classes going backwards (sixth would be first, fifth would be second, etc) or people wearing their cloths backwards.

However, other students do not agree with this and think that the school should not do anything to celebrate the holiday.

“I think the worst part about Opposite Day,” said Aviation freshman Emilio Anselmo, “is the fact that at our school, we tend to be a little bit crazy.”

Perhaps, that is the reason that ASB has not scheduled such an event because they feel that some students would go too far and make it un-fun for everyone else. If students were to go over board, whether it is through the appropriate-ness of the students’ dress or the amount of stress and anxiety they cause, it could make the student atmosphere a place where students do not really want to participate in. The purpose of spirit days are so that the student body has fun.

Beware the Terms and Conditions

With so much text, its no wonder

“Terms of Service,” three words on the bottom of most pages on the Internet that are constantly ignored.  These terms are rarely fully read and yet companies can use these agreements as legally binding contracts.  In general, Terms of Service are essential for companies to protect themselves, however there comes a point when protecting ones interest becomes infringing upon user rights.

Despite giving companies favorable footing in user interaction, people still end up giving their consent to theses agreements. Terms of Service are often lengthy and include hard to understand vocabulary, many people just agree without looking at them.

The current format of Terms of Service can often lead to overlooking certain important choices.  In mid-September Sony changed their Terms of Service to the PlayStation Network to include:


This change required users to relinquish their rights to filing class action lawsuits.  Amid the recent breach of security in the Playstation Network, causing thousands of peoples information to become vulnerable, it would appear that Sony is trying to ensure that it does not become liable for future problems that might arise.

The only way to opt out of this particular clause in the terms of service is to send Sony a written notice stating that you do not wish to resolve disputes through arbitration within 30 days of agreeing to the terms and conditions.  This rather tedious process encourages users to simply agree to the terms and conditions instead of maintaining their individual rights.

While many users do not read the terms they agree to in the first place, being able to keep track of the terms you agree to can be difficult as well. Thankfully, progress has been made to stop companies from changing their terms of service without notification. The court case Douglas v. Talk America requires companies to give notification to consumers of  any changes in their terms of service.  While this court ruling does not specifically apply to website, services such as Itunes and the Playstation network are applicable to this ruling and is one of the reasons, besides common courtesy, a user must agree to the terms and conditions of these services every time an update is made.

People’s inattentiveness to online terms of service is an issue that has pertained for quite some time.  In 2010, English website “GameStation” secretly inputted an “immortal soul clause” into their terms and conditions.  This clause allowed GameStation to “claim, now and forever more, your soul.”  Should you choose to buy a product from their website on the day they implemented this clause, coincidentally April 1st.  Within the terms and conditions, an opt out box was made available for those who “a) do not believe have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant such a license” by checking this box users not only opted out of the immortal soul clause but also received a gift certificate put to their purchase.

While comical this stunt only proves the point that people do not read the terms they are agreeing to as over 88% of consumers did not opt out of the immortal soul clause.  This attitude maintains today.


“Nope. Never. They’re long and I just don’t have the attention span,” claims Internet enthusiast Vikki Bensen, “well, I do, I’m just too lazy to use it.”

Sentiments like Bensen’s are common among users, yet the majority of companies are not making an effort to better relay this vital information to their consumers. “If they could just be condensed down to a page or less of the main bullet points that are necessary, with the entire legal agreement behind them,” says Bensen. “Just the main ideas laid out in an easy to read format would make them much more accessible to people.”

Terms of Service are essential to the company, not the client.  They prevent liability for the company and generally protect them, however  there is a fine line between protecting corporate interests and inhibiting the users ability to protect themselves.

Student Business Has the Beat

Many great and famous musicians have appeared out of the Puget Sound area over the years. Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix and Macklemore are just a few of the musically-talented people to emerge.  Now, AHS junior Austin McHenry and Highline

Northwest Empyre, Student Start-up With Style

High School junior Kyle Sprague are contributing to the hip-hop scene in the Pacific Northwest by starting a business that DJs, designs, and records music.

“The big hip-hop scenes are New York, down south like in Texas and Georgia and Southern California,” McHenry said. “There are two famous rappers from here: Macklemore and Jay Barz. We want to basically put Seattle on the hip-hop map.”

This may seem like a long shot to some people, but their company, Northwest Empyre, is already well on its way.

“It’s an actual company.We started over a year ago. I handle all the business side of things so I did all the registration, all of our financial stuff. I talked to the bank and registering with the Department of Licencing, with the IRS, Department of Revenue,” said McHenry. “We DJ, we’ve done house parties, high school parties, sweet sixteens, birthdays and school carnivals.”

One big event coming up for the company is AHS’s Tolo, at which Northwest Empyre is signed up to DJ.

“Yes, we are going to be there,” said McHenry. “Kyle is going to be there too.”

At the Tolo dance, McHenry said that there were going to be many differences in the DJ technique than at the Aviators Ball earlier this year.

“I have a biased opinion about DJing obviously, that’s like asking a football player about someone else’s technique, but I thought honestly it was pretty bad,” McHenry said of the DJing at the Ball. “Mostly the fact that there wasn’t a DJ and that they were using iTunes, which means there isn’t smooth transitions between songs. They also didn’t have any effect lighting, just one disco ball.”

The company is also trying to do things that are not directly tied to music.

“We are also trying to do photography and graphic design,” McHenry said. “We will do all of our photography in house. We are also trying to get a t-shirt line going. Urban street style is what we are going for, kind of like Zoo York. We are going to sell online and in person, as well as possibly in stores.”

McHenry also plans to keep the business up and running during his college years.

“My plan is to major in mechanical engineering and minor in business, hopefully at MIT,” McHenry said. “My plan, as a young entrepreneur, I was able to create a platform that would be able to grow and develop as it goes on, meaning I can study what I want and run this on the side, so when I get out of college there will be a platform that I can devote my time to.”

The idea for the the name came out of the blue, while Sprague was listening to music.

“So Kyle was listening to a song by UGK that’s from Texas and he had said some thing along the lines of ‘UGK is a southern empire’ and that sounded cool, so why don’t we do something like northern empire, and that eventually changed to northwest empire,” McHenry said. “I don’t know where the ‘y’ came in.”

“As for the logo, what I did was take the Space Needle from the Sounder’s logo and combine it with the old Mariners ‘M’ logo and then do a little work on it,” explained McHenry.

As they work, the Empyre is always building it’s collection of DJ gear.

“So we have five speakers in total, our mix deck and two computers, sound library of about twelve thousand songs,” said McHenry. “We have three giant lights which will be suspended about twelve feet off the ground, spaced ten feet apart and all angled. The funny things is each of these lights are supposed to fill the room by itself, and the cool thing about those are they are sound activated so when the bass hits they change color and effect. It gives the impression of a real club.”

Northwest Empyre is currently working on the creation of a devoted website, but for now, they are available on Twitter (@NwEmpyre), Tumblr  ( and Facebook.

Student Films Invade AHS

Coming soon to a classroom near you, AHS’s film club will be hosting a film festival that will showcase different students short films and movies. This is a chance for students to show off their ability to create quality short movies, and an excuse for student who like making films to show off what they have made or to try their hand at making films.

The film festival will take place in the gym and admissions will need to be paid for, since the film club will be providing food and drink. This is also a fund raiser for film club so that they will be able to afford better equipment and editing programs to make their films look better. The price of admissions will be 5 dollars according to Alex Macmillan, a member of film club. The one coordinating this event is Kevin shilling, who is the head of AHS’s film club.

Alex Macmillan is a member of film club and plans to show off his film making and script writing skills by attempting to creating a comedic film.

Warning: Do not try this at home... Or at AHS

“I am submitting a comedy slash drama type film,” said Alex Macmillan, the film’s director, “It will start off comedic, but will hopefully take a more serious turn. But if not I will have it be funny all the way through.”

However, Macmillan is not alone in the production. He has the help of his friend Kris Hartelius, who is going to be an actor in the film while helping on some behind the scene things.

“I am actually the nerd that gets beat up throughout the film” say Hartelius, the star of the film, “I am also the co-director and co-writer for the film”

Kevin schilling and his film club will be submitting a number films to the festival. Some of the members will be submitting their own film. That means that no two members, besides Alex and Kris, will be working together on the same film. however, no other members are sharing what they plan to submit to the festival just yet.

The films will be judged by a small student jury that will pick out the best film of all. No word yet on if there will be an award for the winning film, and what that award might be.

Anyone can enter the festival with any film that they choose to submit, the film just can’t be vulgar. It should be a film you can show in class or in front of your grandparents, so go easy on the blood and guts.

Max rose, a student at AHS, is planning on submitting a documentary about his unique noise that seems to have followed him since he was seventh grade. The film will be directed by some of his friends, who do not attend AHS. Max, however, will be overseeing the final editing.

“It’s a documentary about my noise,” says Max Rose, the star of the documentary “The Noise” which is being submitted to the festival, “it kind of explains how I’m living with it and how if affects my life, for better or for worse. It’s not always fun living with a noise that comes out of your body at random times. There also be people that have been either affected by my noise or have ticks like it. They will get to voice their opinion on it and how their life is affected by a noise like mine.”

This isn’t the first Aviation high school Film festival that has happened. Last school year the school funded a student showcase of short films in the gym. This was film club’s first attempt at a film festival. It went off well, and the films received plenty of praise from the viewing audience. Emily Chunn’s film was received with much praise from the attendees of the festival and the student body.

The festival is a great opportunity for students to express themselves. Students can make a personal film, like Rose is doing, or they can make a great comedy like Macmillan. Either way, it’s a worthwhile opportunity that welcomes everyone and anyone to participate and enjoy themselves.

When it Snows, They Ski

Making the most out of unpredictable conditions at Snoqualmie Pass

While snow starts to cover the mountains, ski and snowboard enthusiasts are getting their gear ready to head up to the mountains. Aviation High School’s Ski Club is finalizing their preparation to send students on the ski bus to Snoqualmie Pass.

AHS is participating in another year of Ski Club with Mohan Ski School which started Friday January sixth and is going on every Friday for six weeks. Lift tickets are not included but students do get a discount with the ski bus. With the season off to a cold but late start, the mountain conditions aren’t looking too promising this year.

Snow still has not come to the lowlands. Early last season already had snow in the low lands but the snow conditions in the mountain were so great. The warmer temperature caused it to rain frequently while students were up skiing. The ski bus also requires one to buy a season pass which is more expensive than if someone only wants to go once or twice during the season.

“Ski Club was over priced and you had to go even though the weather was terrible when you wouldn’t have gone otherwise, but you already paid for it,” said AHS junior and snowboarder Corry Fox. “But it was fun because you got to hang out with people.”

Some students have already been up to the mountains and have said the conditions are not that great. Snow reports say that the mountains don’t have a big base layer of snow.

“Conditions have been pretty bare. We haven’t received any snow for a long time, since about November, so the slopes were fairly empty,” said experienced skier Dustin Werran. “Recently though there’s been a pickup in rainfall, so snow is on its way, and this year is La Niña so we can expect more to come.”

There is a lot of preparation that goes into getting the ski bus ready for the season, such as trying to plan around the weather. Some Fridays, the weather doesn’t cooperate and the conditions are too poor for skiing to be fun for students.

“If there isn’t snow one Friday, or it’s raining, we won’t end up going that week, it will be pushed out one more week,” said Des Moines Parks and Recreation Program Coordinator and organizer of the ski bus which comes to AHS, Rebecca Hall. “So we’re not going to go up if it’s really really bad weather. Last year they had to extend by about two weeks.”

Taking the Ski Bus is cheaper than someone going up by themselves or with a small group of friends.

“Mohan is the less expensive option for lessons and rides to the slope,” said Hall. “There is another group that takes people on Saturdays that is just starting this year.”

Parents always worry about their students when they’re in the hands of someone else. It is important for a company to prove they are responsible and are able to take care of the students.

“For a fact, we’re all background checked and everything, we are all proven that we can run programs. Mohan has a proven record for safety over many many years,” said Hall. “They’ve been in the business a long time. They’re chartered buses, so someone could drive up to the slope on their own, but it would be cheaper to take the bus.”

Safety is also a key factor with programs that are responsible for others. Companies such as Mohan focus on safety to remain in business with a clean record. They should also be prepared should something happen.

“For the program, we have emergency drivers that are volunteers. [With all the school districts] in all, they’ll have maybe fifteen, twenty buses up there on Friday nights, so we have multiple emergency drivers that are up there,” said Hall. “If something were to happen, we could bring someone back down. We have a strict policy of whoever gets one the bus are the same people that come back on the bus. Also, each program coordinator checks in with Ski Patrol once an hour to see if anyone has come through Ski Patrol with an injury on the slopes.”

For those who don’t want to get a season ticket and only want to go up once or twice with the ski bus, there is an option for that.

“There is the option to go up for the day, as long as there is room on the bus and Mohan has their bus count because we’ll be sharing a bus with Maple Valley again this year,” said Hall, “so usually there should be space for people who want to do a one day adventure.”

It takes motivation to do these sports so clubs like this could run. Some people start having an interest for skiing or snowboarding  when they are either young, or are just starting this year.

“I use to ski way back, when I was a little one, with my parents. They stopped skiing so I didn’t get to go,” said Fox. “Finally I was old enough and have money of my own so I decided to start snowboarding, so I taught myself to snowboard last year on the ski bus.”

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