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Wichita schools invited to compete in aviation design challenge

Wichita high schools are invited to join a nationwide competition aimed to encourage aviation and aerospace competition.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association and Build A Plane are sponsoring a GAMA/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge.

Interested schools will receive complimentary “Fly to Learn” curricula, which comes with flight simulation software powered by X-Plane.

“We’d love to have some Wichita-area schools compete,” GAMA spokeswoman Mary Lynn Rynkiewicz said in an e-mail.

Teachers guide students through the science of flight and airplane design. The curricula takes about six weeks in the classroom to complete or four weeks through an accelerated program.

Each high school then applies what its students have learned by modifying a Glasair Sportsman airplane that seats four adults.

The schools compete in a virtual fly-off, which is scored on aerodynamic and performance parameters while flying specific mission profiles and other factors.

The challenge’s purpose is to promote science, technology, engineering and match education, organizers said.

It is free to enter.

The Design Challenge is open to the first 100 schools to register and is restricted to one teacher per school. Registration is open until Feb. 13 or until the first 100 schools register.

Each school’s team must have four students to be eligible for the competition. Each team must include at least one male and one female student.

It’s the third year for the competition. The prize has not yet been announced.

For more information, go to or call 202-393-1500.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.