Now is the time for high schools across the country to register for the fifth annual GAMA/Build a Plane Aviation Design Challenge, a national competition that promotes students’ science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills and encourages young people to think about future careers in general aviation, including business aviation.

The annual contest is sponsored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and provides a unique opportunity to involve students in a fun and educational STEM activity while also learning about careers in aviation.

“As our industry looks for more talented young people to fill the variety of aviation jobs that will open up in the coming years, 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,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce.

The deadline for high schools to register for the competition is Jan. 20, 2017, and registration is limited to the first 100 U.S. high schools that complete the registration form. Teams must include at least four students – with at least one male and one female student – and only one team per school may enter. The curriculum can be completed by either high school classes or after-school programs.

Competition participants will receive complimentary “Fly to Learn” curriculum and software powered by X-Plane that teaches aerodynamic and aviation engineering principles. Teachers guide students through the science of flight and airplane design, and each team will apply what they have learned by modifying the design of an airplane. The schools will then compete in a virtual fly-off, which will be scored on aerodynamic and performance parameters while flying a specific mission profile.

The winning team will receive an all-expenses-paid trip during the summer of 2017 to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand. Entries are due by late April 2017, and the winner will be announced in May 2017.

According to GAMA, several past winners and competition entrants have gone on to pursue careers in aviation after having participated in the Aviation Design Challenge.

Learn more and register for the contest.