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Redbird surprises Minnesota class with STEM campRedbird surprises Minnesota class with STEM camp

Camp a reward for GAMA Aviation Design Challenge runner-up and classmatesCamp a reward for GAMA Aviation Design Challenge runner-up and classmates

Thirty students from St. Croix Lutheran Academy in West St. Paul, Minnesota, put their aviation knowledge to the test during a two-day Redbird Flight Simulations science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) camp delivered at their school after a team of three placed second in the 2018 General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s (GAMA) 2018 Aviation Design Challenge.

The GAMA 2018 Aviation Design Challenge second-place team from St. Croix Lutheran Academy participates in the Redbird Flight Simulations Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Lab Camp. Photo courtesy of GAMA.

The challenge required students to design and modify a virtual Cessna 172SP to be as fast and as fuel efficient as possible using software powered by X-Plane.

Redbird surprised the Minnesota students with a room of Jay Velocity simulators. Greg Roark, RedbirdSTEM’s training and development director, taught them about aerodynamics, aviation weather, physics, and more. At the end of each day, the students applied what they learned in a "round up competition” on the simulators, a news release noted.

The idea of opening the learning experience to dozens of fellow students helped build on the excitement and allowed more kids to learn about aviation, GAMA’s Sarah McCann told AOPA. “This is the first time we’ve done something like this,” she added.

GAMA President Pete Bunce congratulated all of the competition’s participants and said the demand for future pilots, technicians, and other aviation careers was “greater than ever.”

Boeing’s annual pilot and technician outlook corroborated Bunce’s observations for "unprecedented" pilot demand through 2037 with the need for 635,000 pilots, 622,000 commercial technicians, and 858,000 cabin crew members.

The contest encourages high school students to consider the fields of aviation and aerospace for careers. Bunce said it provides “ways for students to learn about the industry, find pathways to a career in it, and get hands-on experience with aviation.”

The winning New York vocational high school team, Harkness Career and Technical Center, topped 130 other schools in the sixth annual aircraft design challenge. They were awarded with a trip to Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington, from June 17 to 30, to help build an airplane.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a seaplane-rated private pilot who enjoys vintage aircraft, aerobatic flying, and photography.
Topics: General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Student

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