The sky’s the limit when it comes to exciting general aviation careers, yet many young people lack an awareness of — and access to — the many opportunities in this growing and dynamic industry. To help bridge this gap and create pathways for students to pursue careers in aviation, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) sponsors an annual Aviation Design Challenge.
Now in its 10th year, the Aviation Design Challenge aims to introduce students to different careers in aviation as well as facilitate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in U.S. high schools. Students will learn about the science of flight, the mechanics of designing and manufacturing aircraft, and the numerous opportunities available within the general aviation industry.
After registering for the Aviation Design Challenge, schools will receive free “Learn to Fly” curricula, which is developed in alignment with national STEM standards and includes flight simulation software. In the first phase of the challenge, teachers will guide their students through the science of flight and airplane design in four to six weeks in a classroom or virtual setting. In the second phase, each high school team will apply what they have learned by virtually modifying the design of an airplane and competing in a simulated fly-off, which will be scored based on aerodynamic and performance parameters while flying a specific mission profile.
Finally, judges from GAMA will select the winning team based on their fly-off score and other factors. The first-place team will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand. The second-place team will receive a STEM Lab Camp hosted by Redbird Flight Simulations.
In 2021, the Aviation Design Challenge mission was timely: to modify a Glasair Sportsman to virtually fly as many COVID-19 vaccines as fast as possible from Seattle, Washington, to Packwood, Washington. The winning team, Raisbeck Aviation High School, earned an exclusive experience at CubCrafters, tours of GAMA member company facilities in the Seattle area, demonstration flight opportunities, and more.
Since the inception of GAMA’s Aviation Design Challenge, more than 600 teams have participated, representing over 400 high schools from 46 states and Washington, D.C. This innovative program has inspired many students to get involved in general aviation and/or pursue a college degree or career path related to GA.
Registration for the 2022 Aviation Design Challenge is limited to the first 150 U.S. high schools, and only one team per school may enter. Teams can be either high school classes or after-school programs. The application will close on December 17, 2021, or once all available slots are filled. To learn more and register, click here.
As one of the United States’ first manufacturers of aircraft parts, Hartzell Propeller is proud to be a GAMA member company and support its advocacy efforts for the growth of the general aviation industry. Visit our employment page to learn about opportunities at Hartzell Propeller, including positions in manufacturing, engineering, HR, sales, IT, and more.