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GAMA/Build A Plane STEM Competition Winners Taxi Airplane on Day 10 of Build

GAMA NEWS 15-25 For Immediate Release: Jun 18, 2015

Arlington, WA—Just 10 days into their build, the winners of the GAMA/Build A Plane 2015 Aviation Design Challenge successfully taxied the Glasair Sportsman airplane they are helping to assemble. The CHEF Homeschoolers—who won the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) competition for U.S. high schools last month—achieved this milestone a day ahead of schedule in Glasair’s well-known “Two Weeks to Taxi” program.

“Considering these young aviation industry apprentices have been hands-on into this project for just a week-and-a-half, today’s successful first taxi is a remarkable accomplishment,” said General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President and CEO Pete Bunce. “Being able to be with these hard-working and highly motivated young people, being mentored by a cadre of exceptional maintenance technicians here at Glasair who skillfully double as patient educators, dispels any doubt about whether young people today can get just as fired up about aviation as those generations before them.”

Glasair Aviation President Nigel Mott added, “The taxi today was the culmination of nearly two weeks of intense learning for the students with hard work and attention to detail by the entire team. Glasair is privileged to host these excellent students and to have such a strong team of employees to make an event like this possible.”

The airplane is expected to undergo FAA inspection on June 19. Throughout the build, the students’ tasks have included bucking rivets, fabricating metal and composite brackets, running control cables, sanding the airframe, fabricating and attaching fuel lines, mounting the gear, and attaching the propeller. Photos and video from the build are available on GAMA’s Facebook page and on Glasair Aviation’s blog,

GAMA, Glasair Aviation, and Jeppesen personnel are supporting the CHEF Homeschoolers team, as is the builder, Paolo Buonfante. The students have reported to Glasair Aviation at 7 a.m. and worked until 5:30 p.m. each day since June 8, with the exception of June 14. They spent that day touring the nearby Boeing facility in Everett, Washington, and the Museum of Flight in Seattle with former GAMA Chairman Steve Taylor of Boeing.

GAMA member companies are sponsoring the team’s travel, lodging, and meals. A complete list of sponsors is below.

The CHEF Homeschoolers team from Cuba City, Wisconsin includes students Abri Badger, Colton Koester, Nathan Koester, and Jonathan Smythe, teacher Tom Smythe, and chaperone Steve Badger. They won the all-expenses-paid, two-week trip to Glasair by using “Fly to Learn” curricula and software powered by X-Plane to modify a virtual Glasair Sportsman airplane to fly from one airport to another, delivering a maximum payload as quickly and efficiently as possible. The competition, in its third year, attracted 74 schools in 31 states and Washington, DC.

Sponsors of the build include:

BBA Aviation


Garmin International, Inc.

GE Aviation

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.

Hartzell Propeller, Inc.


Jet Aviation

Lycoming Engines

Rockwell Collins

Sabreliner Aviation


Arsenal of Democracy: World War II Victory Capitol Flyover

Communications Director:
Andre Castro:
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.