The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has revealed that Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career and Technical Center in Cheektowaga, New York, is the winner of the sixth annual Aviation Design Challenge, while St. Croix Lutheran Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota, is the second place winner.
GAMA will send four students, one teacher, and one chaperone from the first-place team on an all-expenses paid trip to help build a plane at Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington, from June 17 to June 30.
The second-place team will receive a two-day Redbird Flight Simulations STEM Lab Camp, hosted at their high school campus.
The Design Challenge, created in 2013, promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education through aviation curriculum among U.S. high school students.
“I am very excited about how the Aviation Design Challenge has progressed over the years, with more schools participating and more GAMA member companies lending their support to the program,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “While meeting with 140 members of the U.S. Congress this month during our annual GAMA Hill Day, our board members heard the message loud and clear that programs like the Aviation Design Challenge and other STEM initiatives our member companies host and support are critical to ensuring we have the pilots, engineers, assembly and maintenance technicians, and leaders to keep the general aviation industry growing in the future.”
The 2018 competition included registrants from 130 high schools spanning 39 states. The teams used Fly to Learn curriculum to learn the basics of aerospace engineering and then applied that knowledge by modifying a virtual airplane with software powered by X-Plane.
The software scored the aircraft based on the payload, the length of the flight and the amount of fuel burned.
In addition, judges from GAMA’s engineering team evaluated a summary of modifications each team made to the virtual Cessna 172SP, a checklist of steps involved in the demonstration flight, and a video submission in which a student from the team or the team summarized what they learned.
“Hands-on experience with industry offers a tremendous value to student learning,” said Director of Erie 1 BOCES Career and Technical Education Michael Capuana. “As we need more young people to enter STEM careers, all efforts to increase student engagement are embraced. Thank you to GAMA and its partners for their efforts; this opportunity is truly one of a kind.”
“The opportunity for our STEM Capstone class to take part in the GAMA Design Challenge allows the students see what it’s like to work with the theoretical science and the engineering involved in aviation,” said St. Croix Lutheran Academy High School Principal Richard Gibson. “The trip to Wipaire allowed the students to see real life application of design and manufacturing. Thanks to GAMA for sponsoring this challenge. Because of the Lab Camp provided by Redbird Flight Simulations, St. Croix students will be able to continue to apply the skills they learned in the Aviation Design Challenge. As a school, we are looking forward to the Flight Simulation STEM Lab Camp.”