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Small School, Big Prize With EAA Chapter 444 Help

May 19, 2016 - This week, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced today that Weyauwega-Fremont High School in Weyauwega, Wisconsin, which is just 25 miles northwest of Oshkosh, is the winner of the fourth GAMA/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge.

This nationwide Aviation Design Challenge promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) knowledge among U.S. high school students.

“We are very honored, thankful, and extremely appreciative that our students and staff are being recognized for their diligent hard work in and out of the classroom,” said Jeremy Schroeder, principal of Weyauwega-Fremont High School. “This opportunity and recognition will allow further real-world educational experiences for these students to apply what was learned within the classroom. Thank you again to GAMA for the selection, recognition, and opportunities to come for our students and staff.”

The Weyauwega-Fremont design team learned the basics of aerospace engineering, then competed with 75 high schools nationwide, designing their team airplane using X-Plane simulator software. Weyauwega-Fremont is a small, rural high school with approximately 250 students.

The kids came up with a highly modified Cessna 172 that looked nothing like a normal 172. Their winning entry featured a redesigned teardrop fuselage, modified wings, an added small T tail, and increased horsepower. The team added counter-rotating, three-blade props that would feather at high altitude making the airplane into a glider to descend at a high rate of speed to the destination and then use a parachute to help stop the plane when it landed. 

The team is part of the Aviators by Design, a grassroots youth aviation learning program founded by Jerry Graf of Iola, Wisconsin. They meet evenings and Saturdays at EAA Chapter 444’s workshop and simulator facility at Northport Airport just west of New London, Wisconsin. Students from six area high schools participate in a hands-on airplane building project at the EAA chapter. 

“We are in a small, rural community,” Graf said. “Our program has evolved over the last several years; what made it really start to come together was finding the Fly to Learn program. It is a simple curriculum written by a teacher from North Carolina, Tom Dubick, that uses X-Plane Flight simulator to teach the physics of flight. I am extremely proud of their accomplishments, if we can do it here, you can do it anywhere.”

The grand prize is an all-expense paid trip for four students, one teacher, and one chaperone to Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington, where they will build a Glasair Sportsman airplane from June 20-July 1.

The Team:

Austin Krause 
Derrick Cleaves 
Logan Feltz
Natasha Stemwedel
Johnathan Heuer
Alex Willner

Faculty Advisor: Mike Hansen, physics department

Team Coach and EAA Chapter 444 Mentor: Mike Long

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