Build A Plane, Wathen Foundation Join Forces

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Build A Plane, a nonprofit group that has donated more than 30 aircraft to schools in the U.S., has teamed up with the Thomas W. Wathen Foundation in Riverside, Calif., an aviation-education operation based at Flabob Airport. The new partners aim to develop world-class aviation education curricula to motivate students to learn science, technology, engineering and math. "It’s really a dream come true for us," said Lyn Freeman, founder of Build A Plane. "The goals of the Wathen Foundation are in perfect alignment with Build A Plane’s, and I felt this was a once in a lifetime opportunity." Freeman will oversee the growth of the new aviation education task force. The Wathen Foundation hosts an aviation charter high school, an air academy, outreach programs to local schools and intergenerational Elderhostels where grandchildren and grandparents share aviation experiences. Build A Plane, in partnership with the FAA, makes it possible for schools to receive real airplanes to teach aircraft construction and restoration. Ultimately, these airplanes will be flown. Tom Wathen, of the Wathen Foundation, said, “We’ve been aware of Build A Plane’s work for some time and once it became clear we were both headed in the same direction, it just made all the sense in the world to team up.”