High schools invited to compete in aviation design challenge

January 8, 2014

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association and Build a Plane are sponsoring a nationwide aircraft design competition for high school students. The winning team of students will build a Glasair Sportsman in two weeks.

The competition is intended to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in high schools. Teams will use specialized curricula that include flight simulation software to modify the design of a Glasair Sportsman that seats four adults while flying a specific mission profile. Their entries will compete in a virtual fly-off and will be scored on aerodynamic and performance parameters.

The winning team, plus a teacher and a chaperone, will travel to Glasair Aviation headquarters in Arlington, Wash., June 16 to 28 to assemble a Sportsman using Glasair’s Two Weeks to Taxi program.

Schools can register for the competition now through Feb. 14 to receive the Fly to Learn curricula and software. Entries are due by April 30, and the winner will be announced May 8.

Teachers can register at the website. Space is limited to the first 100 schools.

In 2013, teams from high schools in Michigan and Minnesota built two aircraft, which were flown to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. AOPA Pilot chronicled their two-week build (“Young Blood,” October 2013).

“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.”