St. Croix Lutheran wins second place in aviation challenge

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced May 22 that Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career and Technical Center in Cheektowaga, New York, is the winner of the sixth annual Aviation Design Challenge and St. Croix Lutheran Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota, is the second-place winner, and will receive a two-day Redbird Flight Simulations STEM Lab Camp, hosted at their high school campus. The Design Challenge, created in 2013, promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education through aviation curriculum among U.S. high school students. 

The 2018 competition included registrants from 130 high schools spanning 39 states. The teams used Fly to Learn curriculum to learn the basics of aerospace engineering and then applied that knowledge by modifying a virtual airplane with software powered by X-Plane. The software scored the aircraft based on the payload, the length of the flight and the amount of fuel burned. In addition, judges from GAMA’s engineering team evaluated a summary of modifications each team made to the virtual Cessna 172SP, a checklist of steps involved in the demonstration flight and a video submission in which a student from the team or the team summarized what they learned.

 “The opportunity for our STEM Capstone class to take part in the GAMA Design Challenge allows the students see what it’s like to work with the theoretical science and the engineering involved in aviation,” said St. Croix Lutheran Academy High School Principal Richard Gibson. “The trip to Wipaire, Inc. allowed the students to see real life application of design and manufacturing. Thanks to GAMA for sponsoring this challenge. Because of the Lab Camp provided by Redbird Flight Simulations, St. Croix students will be able to continue to apply the skills they learned in the Aviation Design Challenge. As a school, we are looking forward to the Flight Simulation STEM Lab Camp.”

"Congratulations to the students of St. Croix on this accomplishment,” said Redbird Flight Simulations President and COO Charlie Gregoire. “We are excited to host this aviation STEM Lab for such bright and talented young people. There is no better platform to introduce and apply a broad range of STEM topics than aviation. The activities highlighted in this lab combined with the simulators will give these students a much richer understanding of what aviation has to offer and will start them down a path toward a rewarding and successful career."

“As a graduate of St. Croix Lutheran High School, I am delighted to see their team receive the Redbird STEM Lab prize in the GAMA Aviation Design Challenge,” said Wipaire President Chuck Wiplinger. “As a business leader/owner and GAMA board member, I couldn’t be happier to see local schools, and especially my alma mater, embrace STEM education and introduce students to aviation as a career opportunity. Congratulations to the team — what a great way and great time to get involved in aviation.”

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