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Students Find Their Wings Building Planes

Story: Jodie Woodward | Photo: Bruce Redman
Published On : Oct 22, 2021
Students Find Their Wings Building Planes
Ever wondered what it would be like to build a plane from scratch? The Ediflyers are a self-funded home school group who are constructing a RV-12iS with some expert help at Redcliffe Aerodrome.

Flight Youth Engineering directors Paul Reddish and Ashley Miller established the program to mentor students to build and fly a plane, under the guidance and supervision of experts from different sectors of the aviation industry.

“The mentors are people the students usually wouldn’t cross paths with, and they are really experienced at what they do,” Paul said.

The Ediflyers group is a one-off project, but the Flight Youth Engineering program aims to expand into nearby schools. The first school-based program is underway at St Columban’s College in Caboolture, where students are building a fully operational, industry certified Van's RV 12iS aircraft – a first for an Australian school.

“There would be more than 100 years of combined aviation experience provided by the engineering mentors in the aircraft workshop there each week," Ashley said.

Once built, the aircraft will be kept for a short period to give students experience in maintenance. They will then be sold into the Australian aviation market, with the sale of the aeroplane providing funding for the next project.

“Schools buy all their own aviation tooling and so when the first plane is sold, they are ready to go on to the next one,” he said.

Although the program is designed to work with schools, Paul said the real advantage was that it sat outside the curriculum.

“There are no assessments or assignments which can slow down progress and put pressure on students to compete. We engage and mentor students throughout the build and teach them that failing is okay. If they make a mistake, they need to repair it, but it’s more important what they learn along the way,” he said.

Local businesses can help fund these projects and have their logo displayed on the finished project – and, of course, feel a sense of pride in what they’ve helped achieve.

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