David Rosen
SSCC students and instructor Steve Ford pause for a quick photo opportunity before they get started on June 7.

SLIDESHOW: SSCC students will give hydroplane a make-over

press release
Students in South Seattle Community College’s Automotive Collision Repair program will have the opportunity to see their work making waves in the waters of Lake Washington this summer, after they finish their makeover of the Schumacher Racing unlimited hydroplane.

The No. 37 hydroplane currently housed at the college in West Seattle is owned by legendary Billy Schumacher (“Billy the Kid”), the former unlimited champion driver who won 17 races from 1967-1976, and is perhaps best known for his unprecedented string of wins with the Miss Bardahl team. Schumacher Racing pays a shop fee and materials costs for the project.

The newly-painted and refinished boat will carry the South Seattle Community College name and logo on its side, as it competes throughout the U.S. and in Qatar during the 2012 racing season.

According to instructor Steve Ford, the project couldn’t have come at a better time. His spring quarter curriculum focuses on painting and refinishing, and he has grouped students into three teams that work on fabrication, prep, and paint. Their assignments all serve as final performance tests on problem solving and critical skills.

“The beauty is that this gives students the chance to work on something other than fixing fenders on a car, and shows them there’s more variety in the field,” he explained. “It also gives everyone the chance to be involved in some aspect of the project.”

Long-time racer Schumacher said he is delighted to be able to provide a new medium for the South Seattle Community College students to paint noting, “this will be a good opportunity for them to see how much team work it takes to paint such large race boat.”

The program students were given direction, but have had to work and decide as a team how to best accomplish the tasks. One group has fabricated metal stands, braces, and brackets to support and hold many of the individual parts of the hydroplane that have to be painted.

Another group has been repairing, sanding, cleaning, masking, and painting the individual parts for the hydroplane.

The third group, which includes advanced students who graduating this quarter, is responsible for spraying three color coats on the 14-ft by 31-ft hydroplane.

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