Four students, one teacher and one chaperon from CHEF Homeschoolers of Cuba City, Wisconsin, are in Arlington, Washington, where they have started building a Glasair Sportsman. The students won the opportunity to experience Glasair’s Two Weeks to Taxi program through the GAMA/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge — a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) competition that involved 74 schools in 31 states.
“This exceptional program not only promotes STEM education, but allows students to experience the many career possibilities available in general aviation,” said Pete Bunce, president and CEO of GAMA. “It opens doors to opportunities students may never have considered in engineering, manufacturing, maintenance and piloting.”
The competition challenged the students to modify a Sportsman through a curriculum called “Fly to Learn.” Using a software product powered by X-Plane, the students’ goal was to enable the airplane to carry the maximum amount of payload as quickly as possible from one airport to another. The students then had to write an essay about the knowledge they gained from the experience and how the modifications they made promoted the efficiency of the airplane.
The program is sponsored by GAMA member companies and, in addition to the airplane build process, includes the cost of travel, lodging, meals and visits to other aviation facilities in the area, including Boeing’s headquarters in Everett, Washington and the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Once complete, the Sportsman will go to Paolo Buonfante of Florida who will also participate in the Two Weeks to Taxi build process. “I’m very excited to be a part of this educational program and to share the incredible experience of building an airplane with these students as they are introduced to the aviation industry,” said Buonfante.