2024 GAMA Aviation Design Challenge Registration to Close Soon

The annual competition includes a fly-off where students modify and pilot virtual aircraft.

Contest winners will have the opportunity to participate in a general aviation manufacturing experience. [Courtesy: GAMA]

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) will wrap up registration for its 2024 Aviation Design Challenge high school competition on December 17.

Held annually, the competition is designed to promote STEM education for high school students. It is open to the first 150 teams—one per school—that register and culminates in a virtual fly-off. 2024 will be the 12th year for the challenge.

“Hands-on experience with the industry offers a tremendous value to student learning,” said Michael Capuana, director of 2018 winning high school Erie 1 BOCES Career & Technical Education in West Seneca, New York. “As we need more young people to enter STEM careers, all efforts to increase student engagement are embraced. Thank you to GAMA and its partners for their efforts. This opportunity is truly one of a kind.”

To start the contest, schools participating in the challenge receive GAMA’s “Fly to Learn” curriculum along with X-Plane-powered flight simulation software. The materials are designed to be taught in four to six weeks and guide students through the “science of flight and airplane design.” Teams must then use what they learn to modify a virtual aircraft for a specified mission profile.

The final stage of the competition is a virtual fly-off, where teams must complete the simulated mission using their modified designs. Entries are scored based on aerodynamic and performance parameters. Winners are decided based on the fly-off results and other factors that have in years past included items such as a checklist of steps related to a virtual demonstration flight and video submission summarizing what they learned.

The team placing first will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to “experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand.” Second place earns a two-day STEM lab hosted by Redbird Flight Simulations. Challenge entries will be submitted in April with winners announced in May.

More information about GAMA’s Aviation Design Challenge is available here.

Kate O’Connor is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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