Want to know how an airplane works? One of the best ways to find out is actually to build one!
Groups of between ten to twelve young people (usually aged 14 through 18) actually participate in building airplanes under the mentorship of experience EAA Chapter 292 members. The most recent aircraft completed was a two seat Sonex. This airplane flies at one hundred and forty miles an hour and has a range of five hundred miles.
During the construction of the airplane, an effort spanning four years, several of our young builders graduated from high school. One has gone on to become an aircraft mechanic and is working for a major helicopter operation in Oregon. Another has gone to a precision welding school and will pursue a career in airline maintenance. Yet another has entered a degree program with an area of emphasis in engineering.
Teen build familiarizes young people with the construction and engineering of an aircraft, use of specialty tools and helps them build the discipline and commitment to see a complex project to its completion while working with their peers and adult mentors.
EAA Chapter 292, in conjunction with the Salem RC Pilots Association, helps youth build and fly radio controlled model airplanes. Through gracious donations, the youth who build these aircraft get to keep and fly them. The build process familiarizes the participants with the structure of the aircraft, electronics and servos, engine installation and power management and then, how to fly the airplane. Building a model is a natural first step in the process of building a full sized aircraft. A number of EAA Chapter 292 members started with models, and many still build and fly them.