Want to help MST students build an actual airplane? Here’s your chance

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Students in Georgetown, Texas last year near completion of their own RV-12 similar to the aircraft to be built by Manchester School of Technology students. Courtesy Photo

LONDONDERRY, NH — This fall, volunteers from the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire will guide Manchester students in building an actual flyable airplane.

But for the project to really soar, they need your help.
This weekend, the public is invited to an orientation session at the Aviation Museum for potential volunteer mentors who want to learn more about this innovative project, a partnership between the museum and the Manchester School of Technology.
Earlier this year, Manchester School of Technology Principal Karen Hannigan-Machado gives officials from the Aviation Museum of N.H. a tour of the facility where students will build an airplane with the help of volunteer adult mentors. Courtesy Photo

It’s a chance to get involved in an effort to give young people hands-on experience in the mechanical and technical skills needed to assemble a working airplane. In this case, the plane is a Van’s Aircraft RV-12iS two-seat light sport aircraft, a popular kit-based model.

“We’re looking for people to round out our ranks of volunteers to help guide students in building a plane,” said Jeff Rapsis, the museum’s executive director. “This terrific program will take STEM education beyond the classroom and put it to use in the workshop. For students who participate, our aim is to open their eyes to careers in aerospace and other rewarding fields.”
An RV-12 aircraft similar to the one to be built by Manchester School of Technology students. The plane is piloted by Dan Weyant of Tango Flight, Inc., a educational non-profit that’s partnering with the Aviation Museum of N.H. on the project. Courtesy Photo

The museum, located at 27 Navigator Road, Londonderry (across the airfield from the passenger terminal at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport), will hold two separate orientation sessions this weekend: one on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and another one on Sunday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There is no charge for attending, and lunch will be served. Attendees will get an overview of the build process, a primer on mentoring students, a review of the expected time commitment, and hands-on experience helping assemble an RV-12 vertical stabilizer, or tail.
Robert Hough of the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire inspects a box of fasteners that will be used by students to assemble an RV-12 aircraft starting this fall at the Manchester School of Technology. Courtesy Photo

Each session will be led by Dan Weyant and Bob Elliot of Tango Flight, a Texas-based non-profit specializing in student plane-build projects. The Aviation Museum has brought on Tango Flight as a consultant on the project.

“You don’t need experience building an aircraft to help out on this kind of project,” Weyant said. “We can teach the technical skills. What we really need is people ready to make a commitment to empowering kids to do something really amazing — in this case, build an airplane.”
The plane build project will take place throughout the 2019-20 school year, from September through June. The completed aircraft, once certified as flight-worthy by the FAA, will then be sold on the open market, with the proceeds to be used for a future plane build.
Dan Weyant meets with officials from the Aviation Museum of N.H. and the Manchester School of Technology earlier this year. Weyant represents Tango Flight, Inc., a educational non-profit that’s partnering with the Aviation Museum of N.H. on a project for Manchester School of Technology students to build an actual airplane. Courtesy Photo

Ultimately, the plane build project is designed to be financially self-sustaining, with no cost to the taxpayer or school district. But the Aviation Museum is committed to raising the $175,000 in seed money needed to get it started. Public contributions are welcome and may be made through the Aviation Museum, 27 Navigator Road, Londonderry, NH 03053 or online at www.nhahs.org.

Space at each orientation session is limited. Those planning to attend should RSVP via e-mail to Jeff Rapsis at jrapsis@nhahs.org or call (603) 236-9237 to register and confirm space available.
For more information about the plane build project, visit https://tangoflight.org.

The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving aviation history in the Granite State, providing educational outreach programs that encourage student interest in aeronautics and related fields, and organizing programs that bring together the state’s diverse aviation community.

The Museum is located at 27 Navigator Road, Londonderry, N.H. 03053. The museum’s regular hours of operation are Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call (603) 669-4280 or visit the museum’s Web site at www.aviationmuseumofnh.org.

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