June 5, 2018

GAMA recently announced that Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career and Technical Center in Cheektowaga, NY, is the winner of the sixth annual Aviation Design Challenge, and St. Croix Lutheran Academy in St. Paul, MN is the second-place winner.

This year’s competition included participants from 130 high schools across 39 states. The teams used Fly to Learn curriculum to learn the basics of aerospace engineering and then applied that knowledge to modify a virtual airplane with software powered by X-Plane. The software then evaluated each aircraft based on a number of criteria including the payload, flight duration and fuel usage.

Finally, judges from GAMA’s engineering team evaluated a summary of modifications each team made to the virtual Cessna 172SP, a checklist of steps involved in the demonstration flight and a video submission in which a student from the team or the team summarized what they learned.

“I am very excited about how the Aviation Design Challenge has progressed over the years, with more schools participating and more GAMA member companies lending their support to the program,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce.

“While meeting with 140 members of the U.S. Congress this month during our annual GAMA Hill Day, our board members heard the message loud and clear that programs like the Aviation Design Challenge and other STEM initiatives our member companies host and support are critical to ensuring we have the pilots, engineers, assembly and maintenance technicians, and leaders to keep the general aviation industry growing in the future,” he added.

Since 2013, the Design Challenge has promoted STEM education through aviation curriculum in U.S. high schools, reaching more than 1,800 students in more than 400 schools spanning 43 states and Washington, DC. GAMA will send four students, one teacher and one chaperone from the first-place team on an all-expenses paid trip to help build a plane at Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington, this month. The second-place team will receive a two-day Redbird Flight Simulations STEM Lab Camp, hosted at their high school campus.

Learn more about GAMA’s Aviation Design Challenge.