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More Than Just Kid Stuff

Teens build an RV-12

Teen Flight's RV-12
Teen Flight’s RV-12 flew for the first time on May 5

Teen Flight
A dozen kids worked more than 16 months to assemble the airplane.

Teen Flight
Volunteers and teens pictured with the completed RV-12.

June 9, 2011 — A group of aviation enthusiasts in Oregon recently celebrated completion of an airplane project built by a group of teenagers over the previous year and a half. Project Teen Flight, a 16-month effort, organized a dozen youths to assemble an RV-12 light-sport aircraft that flew for the first time a little more than a month ago.  The idea for the building project was an answer to the increasing concern by local aviators who wanted to find a way to get kids interested in aviation.

The program was arranged in conjunction the Airways Science for Kids (ASK) foundation, founded by the late Bob Strickland and headquartered in nearby Portland. ASK had the necessary organization and tax-exempt status in place. Van’s Aircraft in Bend, Oregon, provided a deeply discounted RV-12 kit and workspace, and local businessmen Ted Millar, Wes Lamatta, Phil Fogg, and Warren Bean headed the sponsorship and financial support effort.

Project head Scott McDaniels, of Van’s prototype and maintenance shops, chaired the first organizational meeting on September 26, 2009, with Teen Flight participants and their families. A dozen youths, ages 14-17, committed to spending their future Saturday mornings building the airplane. As they gained confidence and building skills, the airplane came into shape and even with a three-month summer break in 2010, it was ready to fly in March of this year.

After paperwork finally cleared and insurance was obtained (thanks to Tom Johnson of Airpower Insurance), McDaniels made the first flight in N112TF.

He opened the canopy after the first landing and told the builders, "You guys built a great flying airplane! I hope you feel as proud as I and all of the mentors (and I am sure your parents) are of you."

For more on Project Teen Flight, click here.

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