Two weeks to triumph

Build a Plane contest winners get down to the business of building airplanes

June 19, 2013

High school students who won a Build A Plane contest start building airplanes. 

Eight teenagers got down to business on their first day of a two-week odyssey in which they will help to build two Glasair kit airplanes.

The teens, who attend high schools in Michigan and Minnesota, arrived in Arlington, Wash., on June 16 after winning an aircraft design competition sponsored by Build a Plane and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. They will spend two weeks at the Glasair factory in Arlington, working alongside mentors and company representatives who will shepherd them through Glasair’s Two Weeks to Taxi program. At the end of two weeks, the students will have completed two Glasair Sportsman four-place airplanes, which are scheduled to be on display at EAA AirVenture 2013.

One airplane is privately owned, and the other will be jointly owned by Build a Plane and GAMA. It will be positioned on the East Coast, where it can travel to airshows and fly-ins on behalf of Build a Plane. The nonprofit promotes aviation and aerospace education, primarily by helping schools to obtain donated airplanes that can be built or restored by students.

The students’ day started with a 7 a.m. briefing in which they learned that even though their airplanes’ composite fuselages are already bonded together, plenty remains to be done—including driving 5,000 rivets.

“These aircraft will be somewhat unique,” GAMA President Pete Bunce told the group. They will be powered with Lycoming IO-390 engines and will fly behind a new Hartzell propeller design. Lycoming donated an airframe to the contest. Other contributors include Appareo, Aspen Avionics, Aviall Inc., BBA Aviation, Beechcraft, Boeing, Cessna Aircraft Co., Cobham Avionics, Dassault Falcon, Duncan Aviation, Embraer, ForeFlight, Garmin, GE Aviation, Gulfstream, Hartzell Propeller, Honeywell, Jeppesen, Jet Aviation, JP Instruments, L-3 Communications, Pacific Coast Avionics, Piaggio Aero Industries, Piper Aircraft, Rockwell Collins Inc., Sporty’s, StandardAero, UTC Aerospace Systems, and Wipaire Inc.

Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is chronicling the projects. Look for updates on AOPA Online and in the Reporting Points blog, as well as an article in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot. You also can follow the students’ progress on GAMA’s Facebook page.

 

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman | AOPA Technical Editor, AOPA

AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.