Dec. 6, 2017
Since starting its Aviation Design Challenge in 2013, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has reached at least 1,488 U.S. students from nearly 400 high schools in 43 states through a successful program designed to teach students science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills (STEM) through aviation.
The challenge has grown each year, and registration for the 2018 challenge filled up in record time.
“I’m so proud of this program’s growth and the success we have had in educating the nation’s young, bright minds about aviation and career options in the industry,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “With the addition of our member company Click Bond, Inc. as the builder of record for the Glasair Sportsman the winning team will help build, this will be our most exciting Aviation Design Challenge yet.”
The skill set that is learned by students participating in the Aviation Design Challenge can be useful in any career path, said Sarah McCann, GAMA director of communications. “This exposure to aviation could be helpful for students because through this curriculum and experience, they develop skills not just in science, technology, engineering and math, but also in areas of critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, application of skill sets to scenarios, working to a deadline and more,” she said.
The team that wins the challenge will experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand when they travel to Glasair Aviation in Arlington, WA to build the airplane over the course of two weeks alongside the Glasair crew and plane’s owner. GAMA member companies that have sponsored the competition also finance the team’s travel expenses.
“Our team has a deep sense of pride in helping shape these students’ futures, hopefully helping them discover a passion for aviation and in turn helping set our industry up for a better future,” McCann said. “Everyone at GAMA is especially excited about the 2018 challenge. It’s really rewarding to see this program not only continue to grow, but flourish, and see students and educators alike have such enthusiasm for aviation.”
“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 High School, the 2017 winning school based in Olney, TX.
The No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, jointly sponsored by NBAA and GAMA, promotes the value of business aviation in supporting high-skill career paths, like those in STEM-related professions highlighted through GAMA’s Aviation Design Challenge.