Washington, D.C., Build A Plane, a nonprofit organization promoting youth aviation education, signed a formal partnership agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey welcomed Build A Plane's founder, Lyn Freeman, for the formal ceremony on June 12th in the nation's capital.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to blend Build A Plane's goal of putting more aviation into schools with the FAA's National Aviation & Space Education programs. We're very, very excited about this new partnership!" Freeman said.
Build A Plane solicits donations of real aircraft from a number of sources, then redirects those airplanes to schools across the country. Currently, there are 20 projects underway in the United States, plus others in India and Nigeria. The aircraft are used as projects to motivate young people to learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Additionally, Build A Plane is developing a variety of aviation-themed, STEM-based curricula, including a course that will enable students to design, build and test fly aircraft "virtually" on classroom computers.
Shelia M. Bauer, the FAA's National Aviation & Space Education Program Manager, further explained that the partnership will foster cooperation and collaboration to promote aviation and aerospace careers as a viable option to America’s youth. These efforts will provide career progression awareness and opportunities for students, in accordance with Order 1250.2 "Aviation and Space Education Outreach Program," January 2005.
Build A Plane began as a simple idea: High school kids, who already have the opportunity to take courses in auto mechanics or woodworking, could also benefit from selecting a course that worked on real airplanes. The idea was first revealed in Plane & Pilot magazine, and almost immediately, people made all kinds of donations, from homebuilt kit planes to certified aircraft. Donors get a charitable tax credit, and Build A Plane helps move the plane to schools that have expressed interest in the program.
The overwhelming response to the Build A Plane idea also brought strong support from the general-aviation industry. Cessna CEO and Chairman Jack Pelton immediately joined Build A Plane’s advisory board, as did Cirrus Design Chairman and CEO Alan Klapmeier. Other notables on the board include aerobatics champion Patty Wagstaff, CNN news anchor Miles O'Brien, Vice President and General Manager of Textron Lycoming Ian Walsh and the Experimental Aircraft Association's Vice President of Education, Dr. Lee Siudzinksi.
For more information, visit the Build A Plane website at www.BuildAPlane.org.