Build A Plane Demand Still Strong

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"The down economy has been good for Build A Plane," founder Lyn Freeman said at Sun 'n Fun on Thursday. "We've had a lot of donations." The organization is now accepting airworthy aircraft as well as projects. And the demand continues to run ever higher, according to executive director Katrina Bradshaw. "We've started 200 projects since 2003," she said. "But we still have 325 groups waiting for an aircraft." Freeman said the projects have a huge impact on the kids who take part. "We had a group of kids in Hooper Bay, Alaska, who started a project in 2007, and now we're raising money so they can fly the airplane they built into AirVenture this summer," Freeman said. "Out of the 11 kids who started the airplane, three have now earned their A&Ps, and two more are taking flying lessons."

Freeman also said Build A Plane now will offer a special online learning program called Aero Scholars, which was developed by EAA and Achiever Learning. Two intensive courses in aviation, which can be taken for high-school credit, include interaction with CFIs who answer questions and monitor progress over the Internet. Originally offered at $1,000 for both courses, Build A Plane is now offering both for $350. Freeman said the group will also sponsor a Teachers Day at AirVenture at Oshkosh this summer. The event will take place Monday, July 26. It's free for teachers, who can receive continuing education credit. They also will receive a free gate pass to AirVenture for the day.