GAMA Announces 2024 Aviation Design Challenge Winners

The team from Raisbeck Aviation High School in Tukwila, Washington, won the 2024 General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Aviation Design Challenge. The team from Porter High School in Porter, Texas, was awarded second place and the team from Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C. was awarded third place.

“Once again, the teams participating in the GAMA Aviation Design Challenge continue to amaze us with their dedication and enthusiasm for aviation and unique perspectives on aircraft design,” Pete Bunce, president and CEO of GAMA, said. “We congratulate the Raisbeck Aviation High School team for their outstanding first-place submission and also recognize the teams from Porter High School and Gonzaga College High School for their respective second and third-place submissions. We applaud all the schools for participating and are particularly proud of the hard work that they all put into their submissions. We look forward to furthering the reach of the program and sparking student interest into the rewarding opportunities within general aviation.”

Over 60 high school teams, representing 28 states, entered the 2024 GAMA Aviation Design Challenge. During the first portion of the challenge, teams used complimentary “Fly to Learn” curriculum to learn the principles of flight and airplane design, consistent with national STEM standards. During the second portion of the competition, teams applied their knowledge to virtually modify an airplane design and compete in a fly-off using X-Plane software.

This year’s mission was to modify a Cessna 208 Caravan to fly from Homer to Seaward, Alaska, as quickly and efficiently as possible. The teams needed to design their aircraft to maximize speed and efficiency and successfully navigate between two remote locations with high terrain. Judges scored the teams based on performance parameters, a checklist of steps involved in the demonstration flight and a video submission in which the team summarized what they learned.

Members of the first-place team from Raisbeck Aviation High School include Charles Atchison, Kenji Gonzales, Colin Harrison, Brent Jansen, August Johnson, Gavin Johnson, Alex Mill, AJ Poon, Colin Renberg, Oliver Swanson and Emile Woo. Their entry optimized the aircraft to carry a maximum payload in the shortest time with an elaborate design process which included low two-section wings with fast airfoils, a streamlined fuselage and increased horsepower. The team’s first-place prize includes a CubCrafters Manufacturing Experience, demonstration flight opportunities and much more.

“The GAMA Challenge is one of the highlights of the school year for team members at Raisbeck,” the Raisbeck Aviation team advisors said. “This year’s team really had a fun leaning experience with the bigger turbine powered Caravan flying in Alaska. They were really excited to learn their design had won first place and are looking forward to the CubCrafters Manufacturing Experience.”

“No plane, no gain,” the team said.

The second-place entry from Porter High School illustrated an intricate design with an extended high-aspect ratio wing, larger propeller, reduced engine RPM, T-Tail design and an airfoil shaped fuselage. They will receive a two-day Redbird Flight Simulations STEM Lab.

The third-place entry from Gonzaga College High School demonstrated an intricate design and testing process with slightly decreased wing area, decreased horsepower, a four-blade propeller and an aerodynamic fuselage to reduce drag. They will receive one-year ForeFlight Performance Plus subscriptions and a flight simulator experience with Joby Aviation.

The 2024 Aviation Design Challenge sponsoring companies include Bombardier, Camp Systems, Cirrus Aircraft, Click Bond, CubCrafters, Embraer, ForeFlight, Garmin, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Hartzell Propeller, Jet Aviation, Joby Aviation, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Redbird Flight, Signature Aviation, Textron Aviation and Wipaire. Sponsors provide financial support for the curriculum, software and prizes as well as in-kind donations.

“We are grateful for the tremendous support of the program’s sponsors — their commitment to furthering youth outreach allows us to be able to offer and grow this program and its incredible experiences,” Bunce said.

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