Students at the Manchester School of Technology are building an actual airplane, but they need volunteer mentors to help students build the airplane, a two-seat RV-12iS light sport aircraft. 

“Our student plane-build project has received solid financial support, but now we’re seeking human capital,” said Jeff Rapsis, executive director of the Aviation Museum of N.H., which is coordinating the effort in partnership with MST and Tango Flight, a Texas-based educational non-profit. 

Volunteer mentors must be available during school hours Monday through Friday and pass a background check to work at the school, which is located at 100 Gerald Connors Circle near Memorial High School in the city’s South End. 

Mentors with mechanical or aviation experience are especially needed, but all are welcome. 

Prospective mentors are invited to attend an upcoming open house about the project at the Aviation Museum either on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. or Saturday, Sept. 14 at 9 a.m. Each session is expected to last an hour and will include an overview of the plane-build program. The museum is at 27 Navigator Road in Londonderry, at southern end of the airport’s main runway.

Students, guided by school faculty, will work in teams with mentors to assemble the plane, which is a well-known kit-based aircraft popular among recreational pilots.

Once certified by the FAA as flight-worthy, the aircraft will then be sold on the open market, with the proceeds used to fund the next year’s plane build. 

The Aviation Museum of N.H., a non-profit based at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, is raising money to jump-start the program, which will run at no cost to taxpayers.

Overall, the project will cost $350,000 over the first two years to get established. So far, the museum has raised or received pledges for about $270,000 from a mix of sources, including corporate contributions, foundations, and individual donors.

As part of its funding plan, earlier this year the Aviation Museum received $187,500 in tax credits from the N.H. Community Development Finance Authority, which allow a business to earmark a portion of its state tax payments for a qualified non-profit.

For more information about the student plane-build partnership, call the Aviation Museum at (603) 669-4820.

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