The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) opened registration for next year’s Aviation Design Challenge on Monday. The annual competition, which is designed to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in U.S. high schools, was held for the first time in 2016. Participating high school teams will follow GAMA’s six-week “Fly to Learn” curriculum (PDF) and then use what they’ve learned to modify an aircraft design for a specific mission profile via software powered by X-Plane. A virtual fly-off will then be held with designs being judged on factors including aerodynamics and performance.
“This will be our eighth consecutive year hosting this life-changing competition,” said GAMA CEO Pete Bunce. “As our industry’s workforce and talent needs continue to grow, this program remains a valuable tool in creating a pipeline for the future success of aviation and for paying it forward to the next generation to provide them with exciting, rewarding STEM skills and career opportunities.”
Each year, the winning team receives an all-expenses-paid trip to “experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand.” As previously reported by AVweb, past winners have traveled to Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington, to participate in aircraft builds. According to GAMA, more than 3,000 students from over 400 high schools have participated in the challenge since its inception. The 2020 contest begins in January with winners announced in May.