Aug. 29, 2017

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and partner Build A Plane recently opened registration for the 2018 Aviation Design Challenge, a competition that aims to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among U.S. high school students.

The Aviation Design Challenge provides participants with complimentary Fly to Learn curriculum and software by X-Plane, which teaches students aerodynamics and basic aviation engineering concepts. Teams of high school classes or after-school programs are guided by their teacher through four or six weeks of curriculum, during which the students apply their lessons to modifying an airplane design. The teams then compete with their modified airplane designs in a virtual fly-off.

Competition winners receive a trip for up to four high school students, one teacher and an additional chaperone to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand.

“We’re starting the Aviation Design Challenge earlier this year to give teachers more time to learn about the program and allow them to include the program in their plans for the school year,” said Sarah McCann, GAMA’s director of communications. “We were also able to increase the number of schools that can enter the competition to 110.”

Now in its sixth year, the challenge’s success in promoting STEM education and general aviation manufacturing as a career path is unquestionable.

GAMA Announces 2018 Aviation Design Challenge to Inspire Next Generation of Industry Professionals

“The prize exposes students to professions they might not know about otherwise,” said McCann. “Previous participants in the Aviation Design Challenge have pursued careers in aviation manufacturing and other aviation fields after graduation.”

Registration is open to the first 110 U.S. high schools that enter, and closes on Jan. 31. The winning team will be announced next May.

“The chance for our students to compete in the Aviation Design Challenge broadened horizons in ways that we would not have been able to do without GAMA,” said Matt Caffey, principal of Olney (TX) High School, the 2017 winning school. “Our students winning is one of the most exciting things to happen at Olney High School this year.”

Learn more about the 2018 Aviation Design Challenge.