WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Juniors and Seniors in the Aerospace and Engineering pathways at North High in Wichita have been given the opportunity to participate in Airbus’ Flying Challenge Program.

This program affords students the chance to build an airplane from the ground up. The plane is a kit model from Van’s Aircraft, specifically, the RV-12.

According to Arthur Brown, one of the student mentors of the program, the plane is a two-seater capable of speeds up to 200 miles an hour. Once it has been completed, the student’s that worked on the build will get a chance to fly in it before the aircraft is sold.

“Like I told my students, we’re going to have fun, but we’re going to keep a serious level because it is an aircraft it’s going to fly and people are going to fly in it. But at the same time, I want them to have fun and have an enjoyable experience,” said Brown.

The students participating in the program are excited about the hands-on experience they are getting. Emmanuel Gallardo is a senior working on the project who is now considering a career in aerospace engineering. He believes this experience has been invaluable.

“I know what we’re learning here is some people don’t even learn until college or after college, and I think being introduced to that and learning those skills. Like, it can transfer easily into any career. It doesn’t have to be engineering, it could be, manufacturing, anything like that,” said Gallardo. 

Kelly Bielefeld, the executive director of College and Career Readiness at USD 259, is happy to have the program up and running. 

“No matter what we’re gonna do, we want to make this happen for kids so they’ve [Airbus] been our partner all the way and been a huge help making it happen,” said Bielefeld.