Aug. 20, 2019

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has opened registration for the 2020 Aviation Design Challenge, an annual competition GAMA hosts to promote STEM+ education in U.S. high schools through aviation curriculum and a virtual fly-off. The competition allows students to gain hands-on experience in the design, project management and engineering that goes into building a plane.

“This will be our eighth consecutive year hosting this life-changing competition,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “As our industry’s workforce and talent needs continue to grow, this program remains a valuable tool in creating a pipeline for the future success of aviation and for paying it forward to the next generation to provide them with exciting, rewarding STEM+ skills and career opportunities.”

GAMA will provide registered teams complimentary access to the “Fly to Learn” curriculum, which is developed in alignment with national science, technology, engineering and math standards, along with free X-Plane software – a comprehensive flight simulator for personal computers. Teachers will guide students through the principles of the science of flight and airplane design, completing the curricula in approximately six weeks in the classroom or in four weeks through an accelerated program.

The teams will then apply that knowledge to modify an airplane design and complete a mission in a virtual fly-off using the software, which GAMA judges will score based on application of what the team learned, and performance parameters. The winning team will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand.

The nationwide competition has attracted growing interest each year since its inception, reaching more than 3,000 students at 400 high schools in 47 states and Washington, DC.

The STEM+ careers highlighted through this initiative are among the more than one million jobs that business aviation supports – a message about business aviation value highlighted through the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, jointly sponsored by GAMA and NBAA.

Learn more about GAMA’s Aviation Design Challenge.