Welcome to the Air Force Institute of Technology

AFIT's Champion Pumpkin Chucker
Posted Monday, October 17, 2016


Team ETHOS  won 1st Place in their class (torsion) at the 2016 World Championship Punkin Chuckin Competition with a throw of 3,201 feet!
Team ETHOS took 1st Place
at the 12th Annual CFC  Pumpkin Chuck
with a distance of 3,403 feet!


Have you ever wanted to see a pumpkin fly over 3,000 feet?  This is your chance to see engineering marvels as seen on Science Channel's Punkin Chunkin in action!

The Annual CFC Pumpkin Chuck will take place on Oct. 21, beginning at 11 a.m. and is held on the runway parallel with Airway Road.  There will be food trucks, human powered pumpkin chucking, pie eating/baking contests, and, of course, pumpkin chucking (Class B machines, 2Lb pumpkins and Class A, 8-10Lb pumpkins).

Dr. Barry Mullins, AFIT faculty and alum (M.S. Computer Engineering, 1987) is a member of Team ETHOS (Experimental Torsion Hybrid Onager System).  Team ETHOS is the reigning Class A 1st place winner at the WPAFB CFC Pumpkin Chuck since 2009! This year they hope to break their winning distance from 2015 of 3,224 feet.

The team machine, " The Phoenix" is based on the ancient Greek concept of torsion.  It derives its throwing power from a bundle of twisted ropes.  The Greeks, and later the Romans, had several types of catapults based on this concept, one of which was known as an Onager.  The Phoenix accelerates her pumpkins to greater than 380 mph in less than 0.2 seconds.   

Next month, Team ETHOS will travel to Delaware where they will compete in the 2016 World Championship Punkin Chunkin Competition.  At the 2013 World Championships, the team won 2nd place chuckin their pumpkin 2,424 feet.

Dr. Mullins joined the team in 2011. " I met the team captain, David Mollenhauer (from AFRL/RX), at a Christmas party, and he invited me to the next chunk to help out.  Since I enjoy working with my hands, I jumped at the opportunity.  My role has evolved over the years.  Initially, I helped set up and tear down the machine and was a safety monitor during the actual shots.  Then I moved into the firing line where I was responsible for tensioning the pumpkin as we pulled the arm to the firing position.  I continue these functions, and I'm currently writing computer code to collect real time data from our heavily-instrumented throwing arm," said Dr. Mullins.