Reick, Wheeler Congratulate Local Group of STEM Students on Setting New World Record

State Representatives Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) welcomed a special group of STEM students to Springfield to congratulate them for setting a new world record. The fourteen students from Nippersink Middle School and Richmond Burton High School spent nearly two years working on “Project Blackbird” to set the world record for the highest remote control airplane flight.

“These students have spent countless hours developing their skills in the sciences of aerodynamics, aeronautics, electoral theory, meteorology and system integration to accomplish this great feat,” said Wheeler. “To build their own unmanned aircraft and set a new world record by flying it more than 70,000 feet is truly incredible. Congratulations to these inspiring students. I’m sure they will all go on to accomplish even more amazing things in the future.”

“Project Blackbird” was part of the Aerospace STEM Challenge program, designed to help students advance in the sciences as part of the Spaceport America and STEM+C flight series. After nearly two years of developing their skills, the students of “Project Blackbird” traveled to Spaceport America in New Mexico to attempt to set the new world record for the highest RC airplane flight. On April 29, 2017, the student built unmanned aircraft reached an altitude of 70,438 feet, setting a new world record for the highest remote control airplane flight ever.

“What these students have accomplished is extraordinary,” said Reick. Reick also offered a few words on continuing encouragement to the students, “No matter how high you’ve already flown, I hope that you never stop striving to fly higher.”

In addition to congratulating the students on the House floor, Wheeler and Reick had previously passed House Resolution 302 to recognize the students. To view that resolution, visit

To learn more about “Project Blackbird” and the work of these fourteen inspiring students, visit