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Georgia high school wins GAMA challengeGeorgia high school wins GAMA challenge

New York school is runner-up for second consecutive yearNew York school is runner-up for second consecutive year

Metropolitan Atlanta high school students from Riverwood International Charter School emerged victorious in the General Aviation Manufacturers Association 2020 Aviation Design Challenge despite facing “unforeseen and difficult challenges” because of the coronavirus pandemic, GAMA noted in a news release.

Riverwood International Charter School students from the Atlanta area won the GAMA 2020 Aviation Design Challenge. Instructor John Friske, second right, joins students Lucas Daniels, left, Coleman Alvarez, and Jessica Keen, right, during a tour of Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace and GAMA.

Instructor and pilot John Friske complimented the winning team of Coleman Alvarez, Lucas Daniels, and Jessica Keen, who worked “tirelessly to learn new and challenging material” as they applied science, technology, engineering, and math concepts to squeeze maximum performance from a Cessna 172 using X-Plane software. He said the team “did everything that I asked of them with a smile and positive attitude. It was so much fun watching them have a blast creating everything from a supersonic prop-driven rocket to a 300[-foot] wingspan [Glasair] Sportsman that we couldn’t even get to stall! I couldn’t be more proud of them!”

Riverwood International Charter School students from the Atlanta area won the GAMA 2020 Aviation Design Challenge. Instructor John Friske, left, joins students Lucas Daniels, Coleman Alvarez and Jessica Keen, right, during a tour of Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace and GAMA.

The class from Sandy Springs, Georgia, participated in the event for the first time and will be rewarded for their win with “a tour of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation; demonstration flights by Cirrus Aircraft; a tour of a Signature Flight Support FBO; virtual experiences including live demonstrations and career panel discussions presented by Dassault Falcon, ForeFlight and Garmin; and much more.”

The Harkness Career and Technical Center in Cheektowaga, New York, was the runner-up for the second consecutive year. Teacher Thomas Leach, an AOPA High School Aviation STEM Curriculum instructor and advocate, noted that his students started the challenge in the classroom but switched to online instruction in early March when the New York school system closed in-person classes. Leach said the team “had their ups and downs” but “gained many new experiences. It was great to mentor them and ultimately see them complete the competition this year.”

More than 80 high schools spanning 35 states competed in the contest.

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, Awards and Records, Student

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