May 14, 2014
By Jill W. Tallman
A team of students from Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas had the winning entry in the second General Aviation Manufacturers Association/Build a Plane STEM competition. The students will travel to Arlington, Wash., in June to build a Glasair Sportsman at Glasair Aviation headquarters.
The Sunrise Mountain High School students surpassed 78 other entries from schools in 33 states and the District of Columbia. They used “Fly to Learn” curricula and training to learn the fundamentals of aerospace, and to design and fly their own virtual aircraft.
Each school modified a Glasair Sportsman to fly between two airports. Designs were scored on how much payload the airplane carried, how much fuel was used, and the length of the flight.
“Last year’s competition was life-changing for the students, with seven of the eight winners saying they now plan to pursue a career in aviation,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. In the 2013 competition, teams from schools in Michigan and Minnesota assembled two aircraft under the watchful eye of Glasair employees, who shepherded them through the company’s “Two Weeks to Taxi” program. The two Glasairs flew to AirVenture 2013 and were on display there throughout the show.
“The strong interest this year’s contest generated—and the extremely impressive quality of the entries—shows that the high level of talent, dedication, and enthusiasm that exists for careers in general aviation, which is critical as we build our future engineering, assembly, maintenance, and pilot workforce,” Bunce said.
Glasair is providing the airplane, staff resources, and work space for the students. GAMA member companies donated round-trip air fare, hotels, meals, and field trips for the four students and their chaperones.
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
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