The General Aviation Manufacturers Association and Build A Plane opened registration earlier this week for the 2018 Aviation Design Challenge. The annual competition promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills through aviation to U.S. high school students. This year, 93 schools from 31 states and Washington, DC, registered for the competition, an 18 percent increase over 2016.
Following the announcement of the winners next May, four lucky students, one teacher and one chaperone will receive an all-expenses-paid trip during the summer of 2018 to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand. Several past winners and entrants are currently pursuing careers in aviation.
The process begins when GAMA provides the first 110 schools that register complimentary “Fly to Learn” curriculum and software, powered by X-Plane to teach aerodynamic and aviation engineering principles.
Teachers then guide students through the science of flight and aircraft design. Students apply this knowledge to modify an airplane design and complete a mission in a virtual fly-off using the X-Plane software. GAMA judges score the entries based on application of what the team learned and assorted performance parameters.
The competition curricula are normally completed in the classroom in roughly six weeks or in just four weeks through an accelerated program.
GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said, “It is critical to the general aviation manufacturing industry that we attract and cultivate the future workforce. This program has proven to be an excellent entry point for high school students and a valuable educational resource for their teachers, mentors and administrators.”
Registration information is available at GAMA.