Youth Aviation Programs

Programs are available within the state and beyond for youth interested in exploring flight.

Wisconsin Programs

  • Aviation Art Contest (Statewide) The International Aviation Art Contest is presented by National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO). Each year, Wisconsin students ages 7-17 submit art work to the WI Bureau of Aeronautics. The artwork is then judged and state winners are decided. The top three pieces of art, for each age group, receive a prize and are sent to compete in the national competition in Washington, D.C. National winners compete in the international competition, which is judged by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

  • Aviation Career Education (ACE) Program (Milwaukee) The ACE Program is a result of the partnership between industry, government and schools. Based out of Milwaukee, the ACE Program provides a paid summer internship to local high school students. Students participate in educational activities in addition to working for an employer within the aviation industry.

  • Civil Air Patrol – Wisconsin (Local chapters) The Civil Air Patrol offers a year-round program in which Cadets between the ages of 12 and 19 learn to fly, lead, get in shape, and push themselves to new limits. Cadets typically meet 2 hours per week and one Saturday per month and have the opportunity to attend leadership and career-focused activities during the summer.

  • Dream Flight USA STEM Shuttle (Wisconsin & nearby states) The Dream Flight USA STEM Shuttle is a mobile, interactive space-themed program that takes place aboard a converted motor coach. This unique “field trip that visits schools” travels from its base in Wausau, WI to the desired site, where educators lead hands-on activities at workstations on the coach.

  • Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) - Young Eagles Program (Local chapters) The Young Eagles program offers youth ages 6-17 the opportunity to get a free airplane ride and provides them with free educational resources once they complete their flight. Local EAA chapters across the country coordinate flight events with volunteer pilots, all with the interest in building youth enthusiasm about aviation.

  • Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) – Educational Initiatives (Oshkosh) EAA offers a variety of on-site opportunities at their headquarters in Oshkosh, WI, including hands-on activities at the museum, summer Air Academies, weekend events during the year, and Kidventure at the annual Airventure Fly In. The overnight program offers students an after-hours experience at EAA’s headquarters and exposure to an aviation curriculum that includes inquiry-based activities, a tour of the museum, and numerous experiences not found in the regular school day.

  • Project Lead the Way – Wisconsin (Implemented locally) Project Lead the Way is a program for middle and high school students to learn technical skills as well as problem-solving, how to think critically and creatively, and how to collaborate. Students engage in engineering and STEM activities. The program includes a specialization course in aerospace engineering.

  • Rockets for Schools (Sheboygan; WI and nearby states participate) Rockets for Schools is a unique program promoting students’ interest in aerospace and science and technology through an annual rockets c​ompetition held in Sheboygan, WI. Groups of middle and high school students in grades 6 through 12 may participate in the competition and the secondary education program offers additional aerospace educational activities connected to Spaceport Sheboygan.

  • Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (Statewide) The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium is a NASA affiliate that funds Wisconsin research, education, and public service projects related to aerospace. Its website provides resources for students and educators about outreach and summer programs that focus on aeronautics, space and STEM training.

National Programs

  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) – High School Initiative AOPA’s High School Initiative is helping to strengthen high school aviation programs and to support students’ interest in aviation. AOPA offers a generous flight scholarship program for high school students and students ages 13-​18 can get a free AV8Rs membership, including a digital subscription to Flight Training magazine.

  • General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Aviation Design Challenge The GAMA Build a Plane Aviation Design Challenge offers participating schools/after school programs complimentary “Fly to Learn” curriculum, which comes with flight simulator software powered by X-Plane. Teachers guide students through the science of flight and airplane design by completing the 4-6 week curriculum, modifying the design of an airplane, and competing in a virtual fly-off. Wisconsin winners of the challenge have been flown to Arlington, Washington to build a real airplane!

  • Team America Rocketry Challenge ​Team America Rocketry Challenge is a national contest that allows middle and high school students to design, build and launch rockets. The contest is held annually and encourages students to pursue careers in the aerospace industry.