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High Schoolers Designing Airplanes

December 10, 2015 - The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and Build A Plane have announced that they are sponsoring the fourth Aviation Design Challenge. Registration for the competition to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among U.S. high school students is open to the first 100 schools that enter.

In three years, the STEM curriculum upon which the competition is based has reached more than 150 high schools in 38 states and Washington, D.C. Past winners have included Canby High School in Canby, Minnesota; Saline High School in Saline, Michigan; Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas, Nevada; and the CHEF homeschoolers in Cuba City, Wisconsin.

“As we continue to look for innovative ways to attract more young people into the aviation field—whether as pilots, engineers, maintenance professionals, or manufacturers—the Aviation Design Challenge has been a resounding success, which is why we are so proud to sponsor this competition for a fourth year,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “Just this summer, two of the first-year winners who are now pursuing aerospace engineering degrees in college visited with us at AirVenture to update us about their career paths and how this life-changing contest continues to motivate and benefit them. There’s no better tribute to the value of this highly valuable and accessible educational program than that.”

GAMA will provide those teachers who enter the competition with “Fly to Learn” curriculum, as well as five complimentary copies of airplane design and simulation software powered by X-Plane for their classrooms. The curriculum and software are used to teach the basics of aerospace engineering and design principles. Students will apply the knowledge they gain to modify and fly their own virtual airplane in a fly-off to win an exciting prize that allows them to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand.

“The GAMA competition has taught us the importance of teamwork, creativity, and critical thinking,” the CHEF homeschoolers, who won the 2015 competition, wrote in an essay accompanying their application. “We learned a great deal about STEM, how to test our aircraft consistently, and how to make very finite changes to our plane to get better results. The competition has been an excellent learning experience for us!”

Only one team per school may enter, and must consist of four students, including at least one female student and one male student.

Learn more about the competition at GAMA’s website.

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