Students who built Sportsmans to be featured at Oshkosh

The winners of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and Build A Plane Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) aviation design challenge competition are attending this week’s AirVenture, along with the two Glasair Sportsman aircraft they helped build at Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington. The planes will be featured at the GAMA/Build A Plane exhibit space, Booth #299.

The teams will also be recognized for their work at several events throughout the week.

Jeppesen is sponsoring the teams’ trip to Oshkosh, where they will also visit several other sponsors of the build, including Aspen Avionics, UTC Aerospace Systems and Wipaire, Inc.

The two winning teams — each consisting of four students, a teacher and a chaperone — are from Canby High School in Canby, Minnesota, and Saline High School in Saline, Michigan. Under the guidance of staff from Glasair, Build A Plane and GAMA, the teams helped to build two Glasair Sportsman aircraft, metal and composite airplanes that each seat four adults. Sold as kits, the planes can be assembled with assistance in just two weeks through Glasair’s well-known “Two Weeks to Taxi” program.

“Having worked side by side with these incredible young people for two weeks and witnessed their enthusiasm for aviation, I am thrilled they are able to come to AirVenture to speak about their experiences building airplanes and witness the world’s premier general aviation event,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “The teams experienced firsthand the kind of craftsmanship that goes into building an airplane and the professional opportunities that exist in the aviation field. Almost all of the students said that they plan to pursue a career in aviation after this wonderful experience made possible through the generous support of GAMA members and several other component sponsors.”

Mark Van Tine, Jeppesen CEO and Vice President, Boeing Digital Aviation, added, “Build A Plane embraces STEM and takes it from the classroom to a real world, hands-on experience. That’s exactly what happened at Glasair during the Two Weeks to Taxi program. These kids didn’t just hand us tools, they did the work. They drilled, riveted, fabricated and assembled two airplanes. They did it as one team, side-by-side, with the great folks from Glasair, GAMA, Build A Plane, chaperones and others from the aviation industry. This was an incredible experience for all of us. Jeppesen is very proud to bring the kids and chaperones from both high schools to AirVenture to reinforce their Build A Plane experience and give them a broader perspective of our great aviation community.”

The teams’ participation in the build included bucking rivets, fabricating metal and composite brackets, running control cables, sanding the airframe, fabricating and attaching fuel lines, installing baffling on the engine, mounting the gear, and integrating the sensors and the propeller to the engine. One of the planes taxied for the first time and passed a rigorous FAA inspection while the students were there.

Lyn Freeman, Founder and President of Build A Plane, noted, “These students demonstrated remarkable intelligence, curiosity, maturity and a passion for aviation as they helped to construct these airplanes. We look forward to giving them, and especially their teachers Dan Lutgen and Ed Redies, well-deserved recognition at our Teachers’ Day event.”

GAMA member companies contributed financial resources, equipment and supplies to the build, including the kit airframe for one of the planes, and propellers, certified avionics, parts and paint for both planes. In addition, Glasair donated two weeks of staff time to support the build. Besides supplies, each team received round-trip airfare, hotels, and meals. They also visited the nearby Boeing aircraft factory, the Museum of Flight and the Seattle Tacoma airport facility, including the control tower, operations center and BBA Aviation’s Aircraft Service International Group (ASIG) commercial fueling operations.

The students were chosen in a competition that attracted 27 schools in 22 states in its first year. Schools used complimentary “Fly to Learn” software, including curricula and training, which allowed them to design and fly their own virtual airplanes. Each school entered a design to compete in a virtual fly-off, which was scored on aerodynamic and performance parameters. Judges from GAMA selected the winning high schools.

The Canby High School team consists of students John Deslauriers, Wyatt Johansen, Leah Schmitt and Brandon Stripling, teacher Dan Lutgen and chaperone Robert Slaba. The Saline High School team includes students Aidan Muir, Lee Luckhardt, Kyle LaBombarbe and Julia Garner, teacher Ed Redies and chaperone Dustan Muir.

Companies contributing to the Aviation Design Challenge Competition Build include:

  • Appareo
  • Aspen Avionics
  • Aviall, Inc.
  • BBA Aviation
  • Beechcraft
  • Boeing
  • Cessna Aircraft Company
  • Cobham Avionics
  • Dassault Falcon
  • Duncan Aviation
  • Embraer
  • ForeFlight, LLC
  • Garmin International, Inc.
  • GE Aviation
  • Glasair Aviation
  • Gulfstream
  • Hartzell Propellor, Inc.
  • Honeywell
  • Jeppesen
  • Jet Aviation
  • JP Instruments
  • L-3 Communications
  • Lycoming
  • Pacific Coast Avionics
  • Piaggio Aero Industries, S.p.A.
  • Pilatus Aircraft, Ltd.
  • Piper Aircraft, Inc.
  • Rockwell Collins, Inc.
  • Sporty’s
  • StandardAero
  • UTC Aerospace Systems
  • Wipaire, Inc.

For more information: BuildAPlane.org, GAMA.aero, GlasairAviation.com and FlytoLearn.com.

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