GAMA Announces 2021 Design Challenge Winners

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A team from Tukwila, Washington’s Raisbeck Aviation High School has been named the winner of the 2021 General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Aviation Design Challenge. Around 50 schools from 26 states participated in the competition, which is held annually with the goal of promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in U.S. high schools. Second place was awarded to a team from The Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey.

“We are extremely proud of the work done by the winning teams from Raisbeck Aviation High School and The Pennington School,” said GAMA President Pete Bunce. “Their submissions showed a sophisticated grasp of aircraft design for accomplishing an important and timely simulated mission—delivering COVID-19 vaccines to a remote area.”

For the competition, teams completed GAMA’s six-week “Fly to Learn” curriculum (PDF) then modified an aircraft for a specific mission profile using X-Plane-powered software. The contest concluded with a virtual fly-off where designs are judged on factors such as aerodynamics and performance. This year’s prize package for the winning team includes a general aviation manufacturing experience at CubCrafters, tours of GAMA member company facilities in the Seattle area, and demonstration flight opportunities. The second-place team will receive a two-day Redbird Flight Simulations STEM Lab Camp.

Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. On second thought…

    “Their submissions showed a sophisticated grasp of aircraft design for accomplishing an important and timely simulated mission—delivering COVID-19 vaccines to a remote area.”

    WHY would you deliver vaccine for a communicable disease to a REMOTE area? A sophisticated grasp would have indicated no need for the mission or a redesign for it.

    • GeeZ Arthur, the article is silent on if the mission was developed by the kids or provided as a requirement. Further, it did not appear nor imply any intent to build anything, just reinforce and test the team’s ability to design for a mission (mission validity is really not this focus nor worthy of your comment, if you can dig it). We should celebrate young people applying themselves and using their brains, rather than criticize. We need to show kids NOT to pay attention to the loud negative morons of all stripes dominating social media and politicizing everything that USED to be the domain of engineering and science, and encourage the kids to use their brains constructively, like these winner have. One of my biggest professional pleasures has been to help and encourage engineering interns to find their passion and pursue it. You should try it! It’s a really cool feeling to know there are handfuls of now aircraft and space designers and builders out there that I had a small positive influence upon.

    • Arthur, remote does not mean unpopulated. There are many small communities, both in the US and around the world that have little or no access to public health facilities. While the odds of those people contracting the disease are low, even a single infected person could do major damage to the village’s population, much like what happened in nursing homes. Such locations have been a major challenge to the public health community charged with distribution of vaccines in America.

  2. So NOTHING WAS CONSTRUCTED–NOTHING NEW WAS LEARNED TO BENEFIT THE INDUSTRY–NOTHING OF VALUE WAS ACHIEVED–NO NEW THEORIES WERE ADVANCED–NO OLD THEORIES VALIDATED–and they got a “participation prize.”

    I see a big future for them in academia, government, or “vaporware” companies.