Flying to AirVenture 2013

Flying to AirVenture is an incredible experience.  The NOTAM alone is 30 pages of information that informs pilots how to get in and out of the air show. I know some pilots who have taken a month to plan their trip in order to ensure they have not forgotten anything for their flight to the event. 

This year the trip will be very special for me.  I had the blessed opportunity to build a Sportsman® Aircraft from Glasair with the help of eight students from two high schools, one in Michigan and the other in Minnesota.  These students participated in a contest put on by 
Build-a-Plane and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) to get students involved in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.  Each school was given CAD (Computer Aided Design) software and were asked to build an airplane and then fly it in a flight simulator from one specific airport to another without crashing or running out of fuel.  The school that was able to successfully execute the simulator and land at the destination airport with the most fuel and payload won the competition. 


The winners received an all-expense paid trip to Arlington, WA to build a Sportsman Aircraft in the TWTT (Two Weeks To Taxi) program at 
Glasair’s factory.  There were two planes that students had the opportunity to work on.  One was donated by the members of GAMA and the other was purchased by Mark Van Tine, the CEO of Jeppesen.  When Mark learned about what Build and Plane and GAMA were doing, he thought it would be a great idea for the students to build his Sportsman as well.  Mark was so impressed with the workmanship that the students put into the planes that he had the students autograph the inside of each wing of his new plane.


When the planes were completed, they were inspected by the FAA for airworthiness.  The DAR (Designated Airworthiness Representative) went over each plane in microscopic detail.  When he was finished, he told the owners of each aircraft that it was the best workmanship he had seen in a very long time and it made him feel good that young people were so excited about aviation.


After flying the required hours, both of the planes will be going AirVenture.  On the way there the planes will be stopping at Canby High School in Canby, MN in the southwest part of the state.  From there, both planes will fly to Oshkosh where they will be on display at the GAMA tent.  Those coming to AirVenture 2013 should definitely consider taking part in this fantastic opportunity to see the planes.

This has also generated a large amount of excitement for Jeppesen.  We are set to unveil a new iPad app specifically for the VFR pilot. This app will be used to fly both planes from Arlington, WA to Canby, MN and then on from Canby to AirVenture.  I have been using this new app to fly the required hours of one of the student-built planes, which has made me excited about this app for the VFR pilot.  Those who are visiting AirVenture should stop by the air-conditioned Jeppesen tent where they can ask for a demo of our new iPad VFR app. Our tent is located at  #301-303  Knapp St. Get more information on 
Jeppesen at AirVenture or get up-to-date information about the new app when it is available at


About the Author: Tom is a Functional Analyst at Jeppesen and is a native of Colorado, born in Durango. He learned to fly while in college at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he received a BS Degree in Aviation.  Tom holds a Commercial Certificate ASMEL, I-A. In addition, he also holds a CFI-ASE, an Advanced Ground Instructor and FAA 121 Dispatch certificates Tom is currently the Director of Safety for Jeppesen Employees Flying Association (JEFA),  as well as a FAAST team Representative. Tom's passion is promoting aviation to the next generation of pilots.

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