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Wed, Jun 28, 2006

Avemco Adds Its Support To Build A Plane Program

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 the cause.

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 future."

As Aero-News reported earlier this month, the FAA has also given the project its endorsement.

"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."

FMI: www.buildaplane.org, www.avemco.com

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