By Peter Bunce
Created: October 23, 2013
Eight Students Build Two Airplanes in Just Two Weeks
For most high school students, summer is a time to sleep in, relax with friends, find a part-time job, or head off for camp. But for the eight student winners of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge — and an old aviation head like me who was fortunate enough to work with them — the summer of 2013 was a life-changing experience as we built two Glasair Sportsman aircraft in just two weeks.
This wonderful opportunity came about when GAMA’s 84-member companies partnered with Build A Plane, a nonprofit organization that promotes aviation and aerospace education, to create the competition. Our aim was to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among high school students and to inspire the next generation of aviation leaders and our future manufacturing and maintenance work force.
In just the first year, the competition attracted 27 entries from schools in 22 states. Schools used complimentary X-Plane software provided by Fly to Learn, along with curricula and training, to design and fly their own virtual aircraft. GAMA engineers judged the winners based on performance and aerodynamic parameters.
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