The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the educational organization Build A Plane observed National Aviation Day Aug. 19 by announcing the opening of registration for the 2018 Aviation Design Challenge, an annual team competition promoting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills through aviation among U.S. high school students.
Four students, one teacher, and one chaperone from the winning team will receive an all-expenses-paid trip during the summer of 2018 to experience general aviation manufacturing first hand, GAMA said in a news release.
The teams then apply what they have learned "to modify an airplane design and complete a mission in a virtual fly-off using the software, which GAMA judges will score based on application of what the team learned, and performance parameters," according to the news release.
GAMA will provide the curriculum and software, powered by X-Plane, in February to each of the first 110 schools that register. Entries will be accepted through late April. The winning school team will be announced in May.
“It is critical to the general aviation manufacturing industry that we attract and cultivate the future workforce. This program has proven to be an excellent entry point for high school students and a valuable educational resource for their teachers, mentors and administrators,” said GAMA President Pete Bunce.
The competition began in 2013 and "has attracted growing interest each year," GAMA said. In 2017, registrants included 93 schools from 31 states and Washington, D.C., marking an 18-percent increase in participation from the 2016 competition.
The winning school was Olney High School of Olney, Texas.
Visit the GAMA website for more information, or to register.