Aviation Design Challenge

Registration for the 2018 Challenge is closed. If you’re interested in entering the 2019 Challenge, please subscribe to the Aviation Design Challenge mailing list.

What is the GAMA Aviation Design Challenge?

thumb_img_6816_1024The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is sponsoring the Aviation Design Challenge to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education through aviation in high schools across the United States.

How do I register?

Registration is limited to the first 130 U.S. high schools that complete the registration form. Teams, which can be either high school classes or after-school programs, must include at least four students, including at least one male student and one female student, with the exception of single-sex schools. Only one team per school may enter.

How does the competition work?day-5_aidan-drilling

Schools interested in the competition will receive complimentary “Fly to Learn” curricula, which comes with flight simulation software powered by X-Plane. Teachers will guide students through the science of flight and airplane design, completing the curricula in approximately six weeks in the classroom or in four weeks through an accelerated program. Each high school 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. Judges from GAMA will select the winning school based on that score and other factors.

What is the prize?

The prize will include an all-expenses-paid trip for up to four high school students, one teacher and one chaperone from the winning team to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand. See the 2017 winning team’s experience.

day-2_leah-bucking-rivetsWhat is the timeline for the contest?

Early February: Registered teachers receive Fly to Learn curricula and software powered by X-Plane from GAMA.

Early April: Teachers receive competition instructions from GAMA.

Late April: All competition entries must be received by GAMA.

May: Winning high school announced; all other high schools notified by GAMA.

June: Prize for winning high school to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand.

What do past winners say about the competition?day-6-wing-matting-day

“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,” says Matt Caffey, Principal of Olney High School, the 2017 winning school based in Olney, Texas. “Our students winning is one of the most exciting things to happen at Olney High School this year. The best part is that their learning will continue through the enriching experience they will have at Glasair this summer.”

Jeremy Schroeder, Principal of Weyauwega-Fremont High School, the winning high school in 2016: “We are very honored, thankful, and extremely appreciative that our students and staff are being recognized for their diligent, hard work in and out of the classroom. This opportunity and recognition will allow further real-world educational experiences for these students to apply what was learned within the classroom. Thank you again to GAMA for the selection, recognition, and opportunities to come for our students and staff.”

“I can’t thank you enough … for the positive impact you are making in the life of a kid,” said the CHEF Homeschoolers from Cuba City, Wisconsin, who won in 2015. “The GAMA competition has taught us the importance of teamwork, creativity, and critical thinking.”

“This competition, and ultimate victory, will be life-changing for my kids,” says Grant Hanevold, Principal of Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, which won in 2014.

Learn more about our competition: