Aviators by Design


Aviators By Design is homeless and we need our own hangar. We have survived with borrowed space so far but we need our own roof over our heads.


Aviators By Design is homeless and our kids need their very own hangar.  We have survived with borrowed space so far but now it is time for our very own home. 

You can help us put a roof over our head and bring us in from being out in the rain and the cold. 

This is a $55,000 project that is needed to build a hangar that will include adequate heated work shop and training space.  A space desperately needed for our kids to meet and work on their projects. 

Aviators By Design started with an uninsulated hangar and in the winters when temperatures fell way below zero, it just was way too cold.  There was just no way to keep the area heated.  We did get an offer to move into a heated workshop and we did knowing that this would be a temporary solution.  This facility has worked somewhat but it is too small and we cannot fully assemble the airplane in it.  It is also a shared workspace and that presents problems as tools and parts get misplace frequently.  We need our own adequate space where we can organize, train and secure our very own home! 

The Mission of Aviators By Design (ABD) is to reach and recruit our youth and non-pilot public with a “fired up” passionate introduction and entry into the world of aviation; as well as, promote and teach STEM education and safety in aviation.  Our goal is to teach the physics of flight through the STEM tool Fly-To-Learn which utilizes X-Plane Flight Simulator for practical application of principles. 

The ideals of Aviators By Design center on exposing students to the field of aviation.  Students participating in ABD have been able to participate in field trips to the EAA museum and attend AirVenture at the EAA grounds.  ABD participants have the opportunity to explore flight using X-plane computer simulation software; as well as, enter a virtual flight competition sponsored by GAMA.  We are hoping to recruit pre-high school age students with a new RC plane flight program to get them hooked at an early age.  Then there is the crown jewel of the ABD program:  The physical construction, and eventual flight, of a Zenith STOL CH 750 airplane.  We are slated to have our Zenith 750 completely finished prior to the start of next summer’s AirVenture program in Oshkosh, but we need your financial assistance to make it happen.  These experiences are absolutely vital for us to help students identify interests in the field of aviation. 

Aviators By Design has worked hard to raise public interest and exposure to all things aviation.  We have recruited a Physics teacher and a Technology Education teacher from a local school to help reach out and raise awareness with regard to aviation in the student community.  We have sponsored meals at a local airport to bring families in to check out planes up close and have an opportunity to talk with the pilots.  We hold regular meetings and work sessions every other Tuesday that are regularly attended by high school students, teaching staff, parents, and aviation enthusiasts from the community. 

ABD was founded in 2010 by Jerry Graf who has worked tirelessly to promote aviation throughout communities in central Wisconsin.  He has arranged for temporary hanger space over the last four years for our current plane project, the Zenith 750, until we are able to build our very own hangar hopefully in the spring of 2016.  ABD’s vision is not a “one and done” mentality.  Mr. Graf has already procured two additional plane kit donations for our students to assemble once we complete the Zenith 750.  With our own hangar, and two more planes to build, we have plenty of room to grow the program!  

ABD hits virtually every facet of STEM education.  The X-plane Flight Simulator and the Fly-to-Learn curriculum cover a great deal of the Physics and Math behind flight; as well as, giving students the opportunity to engage in the engineering process by manipulating a virtual planes structure in a digital environment that provides feedbacks for further problem solving and design changes.  Keep in mind that is the experience our students get just from working with our computer simulator; not to mention, the technical experience they get building the actual plane.  One of our former student participants is now in his second year of training at Fox Valley Technical College in the Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics program, another is attending Purdue University in Aeronautical Engineering   and another is attending the Air Force Academy so we know our program is working . 

The participants are students from as many as 8 rural area high schools brought together in an after school program that involves building an airplane and teaching them S.T.E.M. skills about flight and it’s potential.  The current program is open to both girls and boys from ages 14 to 21.  We have had 5 girls participate and we welcome more.  

Students come from the following towns; New London, Symco, Weyauwega, Waupaca, Iola, Clintonville, Mosinee and Amherst. 

Our program usually has anywhere from 16 to 20 signed up and we have usually 4 to 10 students show up for meetings depending on other school activities. With the graduation of several of our members, we have found new students who have heard about our program and are eager to enter the program.  We encourage new students especially girls to join and replace those who have graduated. 

Please help with your generous donation that supports our unique program for these kids!

Thank You and Blue Skies! 



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