Damaged Airplanes Find New Lives as Educational Tools
An innovative program
designed to give students across America the chance to gain
hands-on experience in the basics of airplane mechanics, avionics,
and the physics of flight has received a shot in the arm from
aircraft insurer Avemco.
Build a Plane, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded in
2003, promotes aviation education by coordinating the donation of
used aircraft to high schools across the United States (and let's
face it... if you're looking for airplanes a little past their
prime, an insurance company is a good place to look.)
"The idea behind the project is to tie together the practical
and the scientific disciplines of aviation," said Build A Plane
Founder and aviation journalist Lyn Freeman. "We want to make
aviation education affordable for school districts and accessible
to the next generation of pilots, engineers and mechanics
. In every participating school so far, we’ve seen
tremendous interest among students."
Avemco donated its first airplane to Build A Plane in October of
2005, sending a wind-damaged Cessna 150 to John Burroughs High
School in Burbank, California. Since then, Avemco has donated many
additional airplanes to Build a Plane for school programs across
the country -- for example, Avemco recently donated 12 aircraft
with saltwater damage from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma to
Although the planes will never fly again, they otherwise are in
exceptional condition for study.
"Our mission is to support initiatives that improve aviation
safety, and the Build a Plane project fits perfectly within this
mission," said Jim Lauerman, Executive Vice President of Avemco.
"As it grows, the aviation industry will require thousands of
additional maintenance and repair professionals. The investment we
make in aviation education today will pay immense dividends in the
As Aero-News reported earlier this
month, the FAA has also given the project its
"We are thrilled that Avemco has pledged their material and
logistical support," said Freeman. "We now have a large number of
planes in place, thanks to them."