OSHKOSH – Through sponsorship by Jeppesen CEO Mark Van Tine, a team of high school aviation enthusiasts had the opportunity this summer to build a plane at the Glasair factory in Arlington, Wash. The completed plane is on display at this week’s AirVenture.
In addition to sponsoring the aircraft, Van Tine also worked side-by-side over a two-week timeframe with the students and Jeppesen volunteers to assemble the aircraft, which will be used by Van Tine in Jeppesen’s community outreach programs.
The four-seat Sportsman was flown to Oshkosh by Van Tine to highlight the Build A Plane program. Build A Plane is a non-profit organization backed by the FAA and additionally sponsored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and kit plane manufacturer Glasair Aviation, which hosted the student build process at its aircraft assembly facility near Seattle, Wash.
“Build A Plane gives students who are interested in STEM career fields a chance to apply their knowledge from the classroom to assemble an aircraft from the ground up,” said Katrina Bradshaw, executive director of Build A Plane. “With multiple student teams able to participate in the program this summer through additional sponsorship, we were able to expand this unique learning experience and further encourage exploration of aviation fundamentals.”
The Build A Plane team followed the Glasair Aviation “Two Weeks to Taxi” program that allows kit aircraft builders to use Glasair factory facilities and assemble a ready-to-taxi aircraft in two weeks. As part of the competitive selection process to participate in the Build A Plane program, students used flight simulation software to design and fly their own virtual airplane, prior to assembling the actual aircraft.
“Build A Plane embraces science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and takes it from the classroom to a real world, hands-on experience. That’s exactly what happened at Glasair during the BAP 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, BAP, chaperones and others from the aviation industry. This was an incredible experience for all of us,” said Van Tine. “Jeppesen is very proud to bring the kids and chaperones from both high schools to AirVenture to reinforce their BAP experience and give them a broader perspective of our great aviation community.”