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New York students win GAMA's 2022 Aviation Design Challenge

A team of high school students from Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career and Technical Center in Cheektowaga, New York, are the winners of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association's 2022 Aviation Design Challenge.

Students participating in the Aviation Design Challenge spend four to six weeks with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s “Fly to Learn” curriculum. Photo by David Tulis.

GAMA sponsors the annual competition in high schools across the United States. This year over 65 teams participated across 28 states. According to the organization’s website, the Aviation Design Challenge is set up "to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education through aviation curriculum and a virtual fly-off."

GAMA Aviation Design Challenge participants are given a unique and challenging assignment to complete in a matter of weeks. GAMA provides schools with its "Fly to Learn" curriculum; students spend four to six weeks working through the program, learning about the science of flight and airplane design; and then students apply that knowledge by modifying the design of an airplane and competing in a virtual fly-off.

"This year’s mission was to modify a CubCrafters NX Cub with a nosewheel to fly from Seattle, Washington, to Packwood, Washington, to efficiently deliver a maximum payload,” per GAMA’s press release. Teams were judged based on performance, the demonstration flight, and a video submission in which the team summarized what they learned throughout the process.

The winning team from Harkness Career and Technical Center had an aircraft design that included increased wingspan and horsepower along with added winglets and speed brakes. Prizes for the first-place team include an experience with CubCrafters manufacturing, tours of the facilities at Boeing and Signature Aviation, demonstration flights, and more.

"The students did an outstanding job this year working through the challenges of the GAMA Aviation Design Challenge. They used all the skills from the course along with the engineering design process to complete the project," Tom Leach, instructor for the winning team, told GAMA. "I am very proud of their accomplishments and driven effort for the challenge this year, this class of students earned this accomplishment."

Second place in the Aviation Design Challenge competition was awarded to Raisbeck Aviation High School in Tukwila, Washington. The team won the 2021 challenge, which focused on COVID-19 vaccine delivery. The 2022 second-place finish earned the team a Redbird Flight Simulations STEM Lab.

Pete Bunce, GAMA CEO, congratulated all participants, and recognized the top two teams in the press release. "It is inspiring to see teams from all over the country put forth such great effort into the Aviation Design Challenge," he said. "Now in its tenth year, the challenge continues to expand and grow enthusiasm for our industry."

Lillian Geil

Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: General Aviation Manufacturers Association

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