p bunce_1.jpg The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and Build A Plane announced today that Weyauwega-Fremont High School in Weyauwega, Wisconsin is the winner of the fourth GAMA/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) knowledge among U.S. high school students. As the prize, four students, one teacher, and one chaperone will travel to Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington, to build a Glasair Sportsman from June 20-July 1, 2016.

Tuesday 672015edit2_0.jpg The competition included 76 high schools from across the U.S., who 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 three videos submitted throughout the competition, culminating in the students sharing what they learned. (Photo at right – Debbie Phillips, Executive Director of Build A Plane and Lyn Freeman, Founder).

“Once again, we are extremely fortunate to spend two weeks this summer with an outstanding group of students whose passion for aviation, STEM, and learning has won them this nationwide competition,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said (shown top right). “They are about to have the experience of a lifetime at Glasair Aviation as they build a Sportsman under the tutelage of Glasair’s exceptionally skilled staff, and learn firsthand about the many career options that exist in general aviation. We thank our generous sponsors for making this experience possible for them, and for providing the curriculum and software to all of the schools that participated in the Aviation Design Challenge this year.”

Glasair Aviation President Nigel Mott added, “This is such a great program GAMA has put together with the help of so many invested industry leaders. I can’t think of a better way to inspire young people to pursue STEM studies or to introduce another generation to general aviation. Everyone at Glasair is proud to be involved.”

“We are very honored, thankful, and extremely appreciative that our students and staff are being recognized for their diligent, hard work in and out of the classroom,” noted Jeremy Schroeder, Principal of Weyauwega-Fremont High School. “This opportunity and recognition will allow further real-world educational experiences for these students to apply what was learned within the classroom. Thank you again to GAMA for the selection, recognition, and opportunities to come for our students and staff.”

Builder Dennis Willows will not only let the students help build the airplane, but is bringing his daughter Grace—who, at age 17, has already graduated ground school and soloed—and grandson Angus to assist him throughout the two-week build.

“There’s nothing better than seeing the spark of excitement as young people discover the joy of aviation,” Willows said. “Working with these deserving high school students, as well as my own family, will be an excellent educational experience for all of us, and one I’m certain I’ll cherish for years to come.”

Added Build A Plane Founder Lyn Freeman, “When I explain exactly how kids participate in building a real airplane, the reaction by almost everyone is, ‘Gee, I wish they had a program like this in my high school.’”

Sponsors will provide round-trip airfare, hotels, and meals for the winning team. They include BBA Aviation, Bose Corporation, Embraer, Garmin International, GE Aviation, Glasair Aviation, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Hartzell Propeller Inc., Jeppesen, Jet Aviation, Lycoming Engines, Rockwell Collins, Textron Aviation, and Wipaire Inc. In addition, staff from GAMA and Jeppesen will support the build.

To watch a video announcing the winner and see the students’ reaction, please visit More information about the competition organizers can be found at,,, and