Building successful lives, one plane at a time

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At the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a group of Oregon teenagers stands beside an RV-12 light-sport aircraft answering questions. They have spent 18 months building the plane on display, and they are eager to put their expertise on display as well. The adults who quiz them are rightly impressed.

The students are with TeenFlight, the high-school arm of Airway Science for Kids (ASK), which serves students in and around Portland, Oregon.

TeenFlight is the brain child of Aron Faegre, Ted Millar, and Van’s Aircraft founder Richard VanGrunsven, who wanted to honor the memory of ASK’s founder Bob Strickland by creating a program for high-school students.  

In TeenFlight, young people are given an opportunity to build an aircraft that they will eventually be able to fly. The student-built aircraft is showcased at Oshkosh and then sold to fund the next build session.

The teens show off the plane they built at Oshkosh.

VanGrunsven noted that this is the kind of program he would have loved as a young man. For the first build class, he offered space in his hangar at the Aurora Airport (KUAO) and agreed to oversee construction of one of his company’s own kit planes, the RV-12. 

“The RV-12 is a well-developed kit plane,” he said. “We were confident that with the help of adult mentors and with the right group of motivated kids, they could get the job done.”

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