Dec. 28, 2015

The importance of business aviation as a job creator – the industry supports more than a million American jobs – is a message continuously delivered through the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

As NBAA and GAMA have repeatedly pointed out through the campaign, many of the high-paying jobs created within the industry are among the sought-after occupations in science, technology, engineering and math, or “STEM” professions.

An annual GAMA initiative highlights the value of these professions, while encouraging students to consider STEM careers, and also showing for policymakers and opinion leaders the real-world applications of STEM occupations in business aviation.

That initiative is known as the Aviation Design Challenge, and it is jointly supported by GAMA and Build-A-Plane, an organization that provides kids with hands-on opportunities to use STEM applications to personally experience the excitement of building a real, working airplane.

GAMA and Build-A-Plane recently announced that they have once again teamed up in support of a fourth annual Aviation Design Challenge for U.S. high school students.

“GAMA recognized a need to make high school students more aware of the many career options in general aviation, including opportunities as manufacturers, engineers, pilots and maintenance professionals,” said Mary Lynn Rynkiewicz, GAMA’s director of communications. GAMA and Build A Plane first offered students the opportunity to participate in the Aviation Design Challenge in 2013.

As with the three previous Aviation Design Challenge, this year’s contest is open to the first 100 high schools that apply. One team of four students, including at least one female and one male, from each high school is eligible. GAMA provides teachers with “Fly to Learn” curriculum, plus airplane design and simulation software powered by X-Plane. The students use these tools to learn basic aerospace engineering and design principles.

“The Aviation Design Challenge helps all participating students improve their STEM knowledge,” said Rynkiewicz. “The winning team will once again also have an opportunity to experience hands-on general aviation manufacturing.”

Over the past three years, this curriculum has reached more than 150 high schools in 38 states and Washington, DC.

Previous winners of the Aviation Design Challenge were Canby High School in Canby, MN; Saline High School in Saline, MI; Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas, NV and the CHEF Homeschoolers in Cuba City, WI.

Learn more about the competition.