How exciting can high school math and science be? For the four students from Olney High School in Olney, Texas who won this year’s GAMA/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge, the answer is ‘pretty exciting.’ For the next two weeks, students Bryant Castro, Kodee Scott, Michael Gomez and Amber McCutcheon will participate in building a Glasair Sportsman through Glasair’s “Two Weeks to Taxi” program.
To make it to the point of building an actual airplane, the team beat out 92 other high school teams in the Aviation Design Challenge. Each of the participating teams followed the Fly to Learn curriculum, which uses the X-Plane flight simulator to teach STEM concepts. The X-Plane sim is also used for the competition, allowing students to modify and test a virtual Cessna 172SP. The competition was scored based on the virtual aircraft design’s range, fuel burn, and payload-carrying capabilities. Judges from GAMA’s engineering team also evaluated a summary of modifications made, a checklist of steps involved in the demonstration flight and three videos submitted during the competition.
The students from Olney High School are scheduled to finish building the Sportsman on July 1. Helping them with the build are the plane’s owner and Glasair staff. While there, the students will also tour the University of Washington and check out the plane built by the 2016 Aviation Design Challenge winners.