Another success for Alkwin College at the KNAW Training Award, now with flying wings

For the second time in three years, Alkwin College has won the KNAW training award for the best profile assignments from 6-year-olds. Two years ago, two students from the Uithoorn school came in first place, this year Annika (18, Kudelstaart), Wouter (18, Vinkeveen) and Wolf (17, Uithoorn) came in second with their research into the aerodynamics of aviation.

Annika, Wouter and Wolf do tests for their profile paper on aerodynamics of flight wings – Annika Valkering

VWO students must complete a final thesis in their sixth final year, which they spend at least eighty hours on, and with which they prepare for science education. “At first I thought I would do my PWS (profile assignment, ed.) Alone, because freedom is nice,” says Annika, “but I thought it was a lot more fun to do it together.”


So it happened that Annika joined Wolf and Wouter, with whom she has been friends since 3 vwo. The two boys had already decided they wanted to do something with aviation, but the final idea came later. “For a long time we had planned to build a glider ourselves, but then it had become more of a design project,” explains Annika, why that plan was eventually rejected.

Eventually, the three decide to investigate the effectiveness of flight wings. But where Wouter and Wolf have a lot of affinity with aviation and aviation, that is not the case for Annika, she admits.

“Because all three of us live close to Schiphol, we know what it’s like when planes are constantly flying over”

Annika valkering, winner of the KNAW research prize

“But it’s always nice to learn about a lot of things and do something to make aviation more sustainable. Because we all three live close to Schiphol, we know what it’s like when planes are constantly flying over. We’re used to it, but when friends come over, they hear them every five minutes. ”

leaf blower

For their research, they participated in a workshop on ‘flying wings’ at TU Delft, where they were also allowed to do experiments in a wind tunnel. They were able to use a school wind tunnel for their own research. “But it was so dilapidated that we upgraded it, including with a leaf blower.”

For connoisseurs / enthusiasts

The research questions of Annika, Wolf and Wouter are: what is the highest possible ratio between the lift coefficient and the resistance coefficient of a wing?

To answer that question, they calculated the ideal ratio between the length and width of the wing, the ideal curvature of the wing, and the ideal angle of the wing relative to the wind.

The research showed that the highest possible ratio between the lifting coefficient and the resistance coefficient is 7.1. This value is obtained with the wing with NACA code 4420 and a 4: 1 aspect ratio at a angle of attack from 5.

Read here is the full report and watch a presentation of the three students about their research in the video below (from 2.37)

The article continues below video

Earlier this year, the three already won the Alkwin Award, with which the school annually rewards the student (s) behind the best profile assignment. And now second place in the KNAW Research Award.

“When we started in 2021, we told each other that it would be fun if we also won the award,” she refers to first place to Fyor Klein Gunnewiek and Winstijn Smit, who researched artificial intelligence for self-driving cars

This year, the first prize in the Nature and Technology profile went to a student from Amsterdam who investigated whether an artificial ear can determine who has composed a piece of music. “A deserved winner,” says Annika.

Annika, Wouter and Wolf do tests for their profile paper on aerodynamics of flight wings – Annika Valkering

Anyone who thinks that the three high-flyers should now study Aviation Engineering at TU Delft is wrong. “Wouter is going to Mechanical Engineering, and I’m going to Psychology & Technology in Eindhoven,” says Annika.

Earlier, the three had already heard that their profile paper belonged to the three best profile newspapers in the Netherlands. Last night, the education awards were presented and the Uithoorn students heard that they had finished in second place. The prize money – 1,500 euros – must partially finance your first year of study. “Dan comes in handy,” she concludes.

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