Midwest Students Win Build A Plane Contest

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Canby High School in Canby, Minnesota, and Saline High School in Saline, Michigan, have won the “Build A Plane” contest, as part of a nationwide Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) aviation design challenge competition. Sponsors of the contest include the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and Glasair Aviation.

Each winning team – consisting of four students, along with a teacher and a chaperone – received all-expense-paid trips to Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington, to build a Glasair Sportsman 2+2 aircraft over two weeks starting June 17, 2013.

The Canby High School team consists of students Leah Schmitt, Wyatt Johannsen, Brandon Stripling and John Deslauriers, teacher Dan Lutgen, and chaperone Robert Slaba. The Saline High School team includes students Dustan Muir, Lee Lewis Luckhardt, Kyle LaBombarbe and Julia Garner, teacher Ed Redies, and chaperone Dustan Muir.

In just its first year, the GAMA and Build A Plane competition attracted entries from 27 schools in 22 states. The schools used complimentary “Fly to Learn” software, including curricula and training, which allowed them to design and fly their own virtual airplane. Each school entered a design to compete in a virtual fly-off, which was scored on aerodynamic and performance parameters. Judges from GAMA selected the winning high schools.

“To see the skills, ingenuity and creativity these students demonstrated in this competition gives me great confidence in the future of our industry’s engineering, maintenance and pilot workforce,” said GAMA President & CEO Pete Bunce. “This valuable experience promotes the real-world value of STEM education, as well as the career opportunities available in the aerospace engineering field.”

The Glasair Sportsman 2+2 is a metal and composite aircraft that seats four adults. Sold as a kit, the plane can be assembled with assistance in just two weeks through Glasair’s well-known “Two Weeks to Taxi” program. At press time, the planes were scheduled to be flown to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where they were to be featured at AirVenture 2013 from July 29-August 4.

The president and founder of Build A Plane is Lyn Freeman. Nigel Mott is president of Glasair. There are 160 Glasair Sportsman aircraft flying today. The progress of the planes under construction could be followed at https://www.facebook.com/General.Aviation.Manufacturers.Association.

GAMA is an international trade association representing over 80 of the world’s leading manufacturers of general aviation airplanes and rotorcraft, engines, avionics, components and related services (www.GAMA.aero).

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