Competition offers students chance to build kitplane

March 14, 2013

Build A Plane, the nonprofit aviation education organization, has teamed with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) to offer high school classes the opportunity to compete in an aircraft-design competition whose winners would go on to build a real aircraft.

“The completed aircraft will be professionally test flown with the goal of flying the aircraft to and displaying it at this year’s AirVenture 2013 in Oshkosh, Wis.,” they said in a news release.

Classes entering the competition will use software provided by Build A Plane to build an aircraft on their computers. The completed aircraft will compete “in a virtual fly-off” scored on aerodynamic and performance parameters.

The judges—engineers from GAMA member companies—will select two winning four-student teams who, with a teacher and a chaperone, will go on to build a Glasair Sportsman metal-and-composite four-seat kitplane at Glasair’s Arlington, Wash., facility. Construction of the Glasair aircraft is scheduled to begin June 17.

A Sportsman can usually be built in two weeks, Glasair said.

“The sense of accomplishment a builder gets after two weeks is phenomenal,” said Nigel Mott, Glasair president. “Over 160 Sportsman have already flown, and we expect that the eight high school students selected to build two more will develop a sense of achievement that will enhance their entire lives.”

The competition “targets our future aerospace workforce with the goal of engaging and educating young people through innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) outreach efforts,” said GAMA President Pete Bunce.

High schools interested in entering enter the competition should promptly contact Build A Plane Executive Director Katrina Bradshaw (804/843-3321) as available slots for the competition are limited.