Georgetown students build fully-functioning airplane

- Students in Georgetown are taking a class project to new heights.

High schoolers in Georgetown ISD's engineering course have built a fully-functional airplane.

What arrived at Dan Weyant's engineering class didn’t look anything like it does now.

“It was about six wooden crates full of sheet metal, rivets and things like that,” said Dan Weyant, engineering teacher at East View High School. 

“We started out with nothing, just flat pieces that you can bend while hardly touching it, and we ended up with a full airplane,” said Weyant’s student Victoria Kainer.

Student's in Weyant's class may not have known exactly what they signed up for.

“Around the end of last year, Mr. Weyant was just talking to his students and he just asked us, ‘How would you guys feel about building an airplane?’” Kainer said. 

Getting the school district on board took a little convincing.

“They were justifiably skeptical at first,” said Weyant. 

With help from Georgetown nonprofit TangoFlight and several advisors with aeronautical experience, the money was raised and the building began.

“Then one day they came in and said, ‘That looks like an airplane. Can we put the wings on and fly it?’ You say, ‘No, not yet,” Weyant said.  

Weyant said one day soon, he will take it for a spin.

“So it is legally a flyable airplane and as soon as the weather cooperates I'm going to take it up and fly it. It's just a little too windy right now,” said Weyant.

“It's definitely nerve-wracking for us, even though we're not in it, because we built it from scratch, but it's gone really great,” Kainer said. 

The Vans R-V 12 aircraft is the first built by Georgetown students, but it won't be the last.

“We'll dispose of the airplane eventually. Once we build the second airplane, we'll sell this plane off to build the third airplane,” said Weyant.

For Weyant it was worth every cent because those eight months of hard work convinced East View High School students the sky's the limit.

“I wasn't sure what I wanted to do at first. I knew that I wanted to do something related to engineering, but, taking this class, it has made me realize I want to pursue aerospace engineering in college,” Kainer said.

Weyant said he has been contacted by Texas A&M and other colleges wanting to build something similar.

Each aircraft must be fully inspected by the FAA before taking to the sky.

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