Washington, DC—CHEF Homeschoolers, the winners of the third GAMA/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge, will spend the next two weeks building a Glasair Sportsman airplane at Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington. The four students, one teacher, and one chaperone from Cuba City, Wisconsin won the all-expenses-paid trip to assemble the plane as part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) competition last month.
The plane will be owned by Paolo Buonfante, who will work with the students on the build. Staff from GAMA, Glasair Aviation, and Jeppesen will oversee construction of the plane, a metal and composite aircraft that seats four adults. Sold as a kit, the plane can be assembled with assistance in two weeks through Glasair’s well-known “Two Weeks to Taxi” program. Photos and videos will be posted throughout the build on GAMA’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
“GAMA is thrilled to be working with another very impressive group of students, who put in the hard work to understand the basics of aerodynamic engineering and flight in the competition and now get to use that knowledge firsthand as they help build an actual airplane,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “Additionally, I had a chance to give each of our students a Young Eagles hop in Wisconsin prior to their departure to Glasair and they are really pumped up.”
He continued, “We want to offer tremendous thanks to our sponsors for their continued generosity in making this competition possible for a third straight year. This exceptional program not only promotes STEM education, but allows students to experience the many career possibilities available in general aviation. It opens doors to opportunities students may never have considered in engineering, manufacturing, maintenance, and piloting.”
GAMA member companies are sponsoring the team’s travel, lodging, meals, and visits to aviation sites nearby, including Boeing’s facility in Everett, Washington, and the Museum of Flight in Seattle. A full list of sponsors appears below.
“The GAMA/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge is one of the key programs involved in bringing talented youth into aviation,” Glasair President Nigel Mott said. “We are very excited to host another group of the nation’s brightest new aviation enthusiasts. Each year, our technicians are thrilled to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with these students.”
The competition attracted 74 schools in 31 states plus Washington, DC, who were required to have at least one male student and at least one female student. The schools used “Fly to Learn” curricula and training, including software powered by X-Plane, and then modified a Glasair Sportsman airplane to fly from one airport to another, delivering a maximum payload as quickly and efficiently as possible. Judges from GAMA’s engineering team chose the winning school based on the airplane’s performance, an essay that described how the students applied the aviation knowledge they gained in the curricula, and how their changes to the airplane promoted efficiency during the flight.
The CHEF Homeschoolers team includes students Abri Badger, Colton Koester, Nathan Koester, and Jonathan Smythe, teacher Tom Smythe, and chaperone Steve Badger.
Companies and organizations sponsoring the build include:
Garmin International, Inc.
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
Hartzell Propeller, Inc.
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