The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is opening registration for the 2020 Aviation Design Challenge, which is an annual competition GAMA hosts to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in U.S. high schools through aviation-focused curriculum and a virtual fly-off.

“This will be our eighth consecutive year hosting this life-changing competition,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “As our industry’s workforce and talent needs continue to grow, this program remains a valuable tool in creating a pipeline for the future success of aviation and for paying it forward to the next generation to provide them with exciting, rewarding STEM skills and career opportunities.”

GAMA will provide the first 150 schools that register complimentary “Fly to Learn” curriculum that is developed in alignment with national STEM standards, along with free X-Plane software, which is a comprehensive and powerful flight simulator for personal computers. Teachers will guide students through the principles of the science of flight and airplane design, completing the curricula in approximately six weeks in the classroom or in four weeks through an accelerated program. The teams will then apply that knowledge to modify an airplane design and complete a mission in a virtual fly-off using the software, which GAMA judges will score based on application of what the team learned, and performance parameters. The winning team will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand.

The nationwide competition has attracted growing interest each year and since its inception in 2013 has reached over 3,000 students in over 400 high schools, spanning 47 states and Washington, DC. Because of the Aviation Design Challenge, several past winners and entrants are now pursuing careers in aviation.