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Gen Z takes the leadGen Z takes the lead

Young professionals have a unique opportunity to get involved in an aerospace STEM project of a lifetime—and, perhaps, break some world records while doing it.

Professional pilot David Costa, host of the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show, is working to inspire future generations of aerospace professionals. Photo courtesy of RenegadeAV8R.

Thanks to a partnership with David Costa, the voice behind The RenegadeAV8R Radio Show, the next generation of young professionals have the chance to modify a PZL TS–11 Iskra “Spark”—a half-century-old military jet—through this science, technology, engineering, and math program. The young professionals will be responsible for the concept, design, fabrication, and testing of modifications to the aircraft. The improvements will help it to exceed its limitations in order to achieve multiple world records in its category. Costa hopes the project will inspire young people to get involved in aviation and aerospace.

“These young professionals have a different way of looking at things, solving problems, completing tasks and meeting goals,” said Costa. “I am excited to see what these young adults are able to accomplish. I am so convinced that these young professionals have so much to offer that I am handing them the ball and letting them run the operation.”

Known as the RenegadeAV8R, “in the air and on the air,” Costa is a professional pilot with more than 15,000 hours of flight time in more than 100 different airplanes. As an airshow demo pilot, he flies the TS–11 and will be behind the yoke as the test pilot in this initiative.

Despite the aviation industry and world economy taking a hit from the coronavirus, Costa believes now is the time to launch this project as skilled labor shortages in aviation and aerospace will continue. With many baby boomers retiring and a societal emphasis on college degrees and “white collar” positions, the gap in skilled trades has widened in the past few years. Costa’s project aims to change that and inspire a new generation.

Young adults between the ages of 18 to 30 are encouraged to apply for the team, which will include those from all backgrounds and fields of study. In addition to the core STEM fields, public relations, marketing, film, and technical writing backgrounds are strongly welcomed.

To fund the project, RenegadeAV8R is seeking partner opportunities and sponsorships from companies and universities. The organization has set up a GoFundMe page for support.

Amelia Walsh

Communications Coordinator
AOPA Communications Coordinator Amelia Walsh joined AOPA in 2017. Named after the famous aviatrix, she comes from a family of pilots and is currently working on her pilot certificate.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Turbine Aircraft

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