Build-a-plane journal: Adventures in teaming up, dreaming big and having fun

Thomas D. Letts, Functional Analyst, Jeppesen Technology Services

Jeppesen supports the need to get students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related careers. As a former chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Mark Van Tine is very familiar with the GAMA and Build-a-Plane national aviation design competition for high school students, and this year he and Thomas Letts, a functional analyst in Product Development, will work alongside the winning students to build a Glasair Sportsman Aircraft.  Tom will be providing updates that will be posted on Jeppesen’s Community Blog detailing his experiences. Mark and Tom both have GoPro cameras that will be set up to capture the build using time-lapse photography.  Follow along on their adventure here.



T minus three days

Has the anticipation of something you wanted to do been so great that you were not able to sleep? Each day leading up to that event, you found yourself not being able to concentrate on anything but that event?

Well, that is what I am going though, knowing that I was selected to represent Jeppesen and help out the high school winners of the Build-a-Plane national competition.  The winners are awarded the opportunity to build an airplane.  This year there will be two airplanes built, and I am told the two winning high schools are from Michigan and Minnesota.  It will be exciting to work with these talented high school students in an aviation atmosphere.  I will be traveling to Arlington, Washington to the Glasair Aviation factory to assist in building two Sportsman Aircraft using the “Two Weeks To Taxi” program training, instruction and build.

There are opportunities in life that only come around once—this being one of them— and I am so excited to be part of this wonderful and life changing experience.

My philosophy in life is simple:  I try to see the positive in everything and everyone, along with, I try to squeeze the most out of each day.  I look forward to sharing my experience and photos with my friends and colleagues at Jeppesen.

Let the Build begin!






Jeppesen Community Blog:  /community/

Jeppesen Facebook Page:

EAA, GAMA, Build A Plane Sponsor Annual Teachers Day:


Posted on in Community.