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Aviation Design Challenge Registration Now Open to All U.S. High Schools

GAMA NEWS 16-39 For Immediate Release: Oct 11, 2016

Washington, DC—The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today announced that registration is open for the fifth annual GAMA/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge, a competition to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills among U.S. high school students using aviation.

The first 100 high schools that enter the competition will receive complimentary “Fly to Learn” curriculum and software powered by X-Plane that teach aerodynamic and aviation engineering principles. The curriculum can be completed either in class or in an after-school program. Schools will then apply that knowledge to modify an airplane design and complete a mission in a virtual fly-off using the software. Four students, one teacher, and one chaperone from the winning team will receive an all-expenses-paid trip during the summer of 2017 to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand.

Air & Space magazine profiled the Aviation Design Challenge in its October issue. As the magazine noted, several past winners and entrants are now pursuing careers in aviation as a result of the GAMA competition. Previous winners have hailed from Canby, MN; Saline, MI; Las Vegas, NV; Cuba City, WI; and Weyauwega-Fremont, WI.

Mike Hansen, teacher of the 2016 winning team from Weyauwega-Fremont High School in Weyauwega, WI, said the Aviation Design Challenge is an experience “my students will never forget.” He added, “The progress each of the students made in the areas of communication, teamwork, and technical skills will serve them well for the rest of their lives.”

Learning that his students won in 2014 was “one of my fondest moments as a school principal,” noted Grant Hanevold, Principal of Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas, NV. Calling the experience "life-changing" for his students, he said, “I can’t thank you and the board enough for what you do, and for the positive impact you are making in the life of a kid.”

GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said, “GAMA is pleased to again sponsor the Aviation Design Challenge, which provides an outstanding opportunity for hundreds of high school students to develop their STEM knowledge and learn about aviation as a career. 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.”

Only one team per school may enter, and must consist of at least four students, including at least one female and one male student.

To learn more about the competition and to register, please visit

Communications Director:
Sarah McCann:
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Headquarters: (+1) 202-393-1500
European Office: (+32) 2 550-3900

GAMA exists to foster and advance the general welfare, safety, interests, and activities of the global business and general aviation industry. This includes promoting a better understanding of general aviation manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul and the important role these industry segments play in economic growth and opportunity, and in serving the critical transportation needs of communities, companies, and individuals worldwide.