The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has named the team from Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs, Georgia, the winner of the 2020 GAMA Aviation Design Challenge. Second place was awarded to the Harkness Career and Technical Center team from Cheektowaga, New York. This year’s first-place prize package includes a tour of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, demonstration flights by Cirrus Aircraft, a tour of a Signature Flight Support FBO and virtual experiences such as live demonstrations and career panel discussions presented by Dassault Falcon, ForeFlight and Garmin. The second-place team will receive a two-day Redbird Flight Simulations Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Lab Camp.
“As we have been each of the eight years of our Aviation Design Challenge, we are extremely proud of our winners as well as all the schools who submitted entries,” said GAMA President Pete Bunce. “The COVID-19 pandemic created unforeseen and difficult challenges for the students and teachers, and we were impressed with innovative approach teams took to collaborate virtually and finish the competition.”
According to GAMA, the goal of the annual Aviation Design Challenge is to promote STEM education in U.S. high schools. After following GAMA’s six-week “Fly to Learn” curriculum (PDF), participating high school teams use what they’ve learned to modify an aircraft design for a specific mission profile via X-Plane-powered software. The competition concludes with a virtual fly-off designed to judge factors including aerodynamics and performance. Teams representing over 80 schools from 35 states were entered in the challenge this year. Registration for the 2021 competition opens in August.