Fly To Learn and Build A Plane have joined forces to use STEM education software to build virtual airplanes. The program will culminate in an Aviation Challenge where students compete using their digital planes against one another in regional and national competitions.
“This is a perfect fit with Build A Plane’s goal of giving kids the chance to build aircraft,” Build A Plane’s Lyn Freeman said. “Not every school can or wants to build a real airplane, but now everybody can build an airplane virtually thanks to our new partnership with Fly to Learn.”
Fly to Learn has developed a classroom curriculum that is paired with flight simulator software from X-Plane. Kids learn the basics of aviation, and apply what they’ve learned to build a virtual airplane and fly it via X-Plane simulation.
“X-Plane is a great learning experience because the software is sensitive to things like center of gravity, induced drag, angle of incidence and more,” Fly to Learn’s Thomas Dubick said. “Students experience strong academic rigor by designing, flying, and analyzing the results of their modifications to virtual aircraft.”
Build A Plane and Fly to Learn are working together to create the rubrics allowing schools across the United States to fly their virtual airplanes in competition. Classroom challenges lead to regional challenges which progress to a national competition. The virtual fly-off is intended to follow the footsteps of First Robotics and First Lego competitions. The Build A Plane/Fly to Learn efforts will initially focus on middle schools before expanding to elementary and high school versions of the program.