Tango Flight is dedicated to fostering students’ interest in trade careers and hobbies. More than just the construction of an airplane, Tango Flight ensures students experience every part of aerospace. Through mentorship, Tango Flight is devoted to teaching mechanical skills as well as life lessons in commitment and teamwork. Unlike any other program offered in the United States, Tango Flight allows students to acquire lifelong skills and expertise in the aviation industry.
ready for takeoff
Tango Flight is a high school class that provides students with the tools to build and fly a two-seat airplane over the course of a school year. Students learn about aviation and aerospace engineering as they work with local businesses. Students can even earn college credit.
The class is an educational partnership between Project Lead the Way, high schools, the non-profit Tango Flight and local businesses. It provides a college-level curriculum with practical, hands-on experience building an airplane alongside seasoned aviation mentors. Students in the class may go on to pursue further education and careers in engineering, manufacturing or as pilots.
How did Tango Flight get off the ground? In 2015, founders Dan Weyant and Randy Rossi were discussing the shortage of young pilots, aerospace engineers and airframe-and-powerplant certified mechanics. They had an idea.
Both Weyant and Rossi had years of aviation experience. Why not use Weyant’s high-school engineering program to encourage students to consider aviation-related careers?
The idea would work well with STEM education and be a dynamic addition to any school. However, recruiting mentors while designing a curriculum that allows 24 high-school students to engage in the construction of an airplane was no easy task. Raising $100,000 in necessary funds would be even more challenging.
Nevertheless, the first Tango Flight program started in Georgetown, Texas, in the fall of 2016. By the end of the school year, the class had a finished aircraft that was taxied out for its first public display on May 8, 2017.
In July of 2017, Weyant, accompanied by a student, flew Tango Flight’s first aircraft to AirVenture, an aviation-enthusiast convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In 2018, Tango Flight returned to AirVenture, this time with three airplanes and 15 students in tow.
Maize, Kansas, and Mobile, Alabama, were the next two locations, and plans are underway to stretch Tango Flight’s wings across the U.S.