Georgetown ISD students build airplane thanks to nonprofit

Students at East View High School in Georgetown are learning the sky's the limit. They're building an airplane from the ground up.

"It's relatively simple to build," said Rob Reese, a Tango Flights Mentor.

Simple might be more of a subjective term in this case.

"I was working on the feusal lodge, a plate that backs up," said Awrey Noel, Georgetown High School student. "It's right against the brake lines."

Students like Noel are part of this year-and-a-half-long process.

"You take it from this like almost what kind of looks like a scrap piece of junk almost and you kind of get to put everything together," said Noel.

The sheets of metal eventually come together.

Once it’s a working plane, students take it for a spin with a trained pilot.

"You're like 'Wow, I'm in the air, that's something I actively worked on,'" said Calliope Bradford, an Eastview High School Student. "That's really cool."

Tango Flights, a nonprofit out of Georgetown, said its goal is to inspire kids to soar in STEM and help fill a growing gap in the aviation industry.

"We have quite a few of them who are considering careers," said Reese. "A lot of them in engineering but some more specifically, in aerospace engineers."

The lessons in class are opening doors, particularly for female students.

"For two years now, I've been basically the only girl in aerospace, and I've really been the only girl who followed through in the field," said Bradford.

"It's a lot of skills that no one else teaches them nowadays," said Reese.


Piece by piece, it teaches students not to put a limit on what they can do.

"You put so much time, sweat, and tears into getting this done and, at the end, have this awesome experience of being able to go up in the air," said Bradford. "It completely changes your view of the whole thing."

After students build the plane and get it up in the air, people can actually buy it from them.

That helps the program buy the parts for its next plane.

The FAA recently announced grants for districts and universities with similar programs.

Georgetown ISD was the only district in Texas to receive a grant. It ended up with about half a million dollars.