Budding high school mechanics may find themselves working on old airplanes instead of cars thanks to a new agreement signed recently by the FAA and the Build A Plane organization.
Under the agreement, the two will join forces to help give more students hands-on experience working on real airplanes. Each organization will use its unique resources to send retired aircraft to schools looking to establish an aviation maintenance program.
“Working together, we hope to strongly encourage young people to consider aviation maintenance and manufacturing as a career,” said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. “This program has the potential to help build the next generation of world-class American aerospace workers.”
Under the agreement, the FAA will share Build A Plane information at teacher workshops, career expositions and conferences, while both will work closely to develop curricula that promote math, science, engineering, technology, and aviation and aerospace careers. The two organizations also will develop a software program that will enable students to design, build and test fly aircraft “virtually” on classroom computers.
Established in 2003, Build A Plane offers high school students the opportunity to work on real airplanes that have reached the end of their flying days. Taking an aircraft apart, learning how it works and putting it back together helps teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics and maintenance skills that can lead to aviation career awareness and job paths, Blakey said.
The planes, donated by aircraft owners and builders, range from kit planes to certified planes. Donors get a charitable tax credit, and Build A Plane helps move the planes to schools that have expressed interest in the program.
There are 20 projects underway in the United States, as well as projects in India and Nigeria, according to Lyn Freeman, Build A Plane’s founder.