GAMA And Build A Plane Launch Second Nationwide Aviation Design Challenge To Promote STEM Education

The winning high school will receive an all-expenses-paid, two-week trip for four students, one teacher and one chaperone to help build a Glasair Sportsman aircraft through Glasair Aviation's well-known Two Weeks to Taxi program at its facilities in...


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and Build A Plane, a non-profit organization to encourage aviation and aerospace education, are partnering for a second year to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in high schools across the United States through an aviation design competition. The winning high school will receive an all-expenses-paid, two-week trip for four students, one teacher and one chaperone to help build a Glasair Sportsman aircraft through Glasair Aviation’s well-known Two Weeks to Taxi program at its facilities in Arlington, WA, in June 2014.

“After seeing the incredible success of the inaugural aviation design competition in 2013, GAMA member companies continue to build our future general aviation workforce,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “Having worked side by side with the students for two weeks last summer and seen how the competition not only improved their skill sets but convinced almost all of them to enter the aviation field, I’m thrilled to be going back to our wonderful hosts at Glasair for another build in 2014.”

Schools interested in the competition will receive complimentary “Fly to Learn” curricula, which comes with flight simulation software powered by X-Plane. Teachers will guide students through the science of flight and airplane design, completing the curricula in approximately six weeks in the classroom or in four weeks through an accelerated program. Each high school will apply what they have learned by modifying the design of a Glasair Sportsman airplane that seats four adults while flying a specific mission profile. The schools will then compete in a virtual fly-off, which will be scored on aerodynamic and performance parameters. Judges from GAMA will select the winning school.

“We are so pleased to partner again on this extraordinary competition and look forward to working with another group of talented students,” said Build A Plane President and Founder Lyn Freeman. “What an incredible learning opportunity for both students and teachers alike to take the STEM education this program provides and then use those skills to help assemble a real-life airplane with aviation professionals. It really is the experience of a lifetime.” 

Glasair President Nigel Mott added, “We are very excited to have the next wave of amazing students back at our facility to work with our team as they build the Glasair Sportsman. This is a fantastic opportunity to pass the torch to the new generation of aviation minds, and keep aircraft in the skies.”

Tom Dubick, Co-Founder of Fly to Learn, noted, “The Aviation Design Challenge provides a unique way for teachers to build aviation design into their classroom or after-school lessons and show students just how important STEM skills are in the real world. Fly to Learn is extremely proud to be part of this program again, and we look forward to helping to educate more students this year.”

GAMA member companies will provide financial resources, equipment and supplies to the build, while Glasair will donate two weeks of staff time to support the plane’s assembly. The winning team will receive round-trip airfare, hotels, meals and field trips to nearby aviation sites.

The competition will follow the schedule below:

Jan. 6-Feb. 14, 2014: Schools register for the competition with GAMA

Feb. 14, 2014: Registration closes

Feb. 24, 2014: GAMA will send registered schools “Fly to Learn” curricula and software to complete the STEM education and competition

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