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Retired USAF Maj Gen pilots student-built aircraft during maiden flight

An FAA-approved, student-built RV-12 has taken to the skies for a successful first flight as part of the Wings Aerospace Pathways (WAP) program. This program is run by Wings Over the Rockies (Wings), a Colorado-based aviation education non-profit organization.In early March, the Wings President and CEO Maj. Gen. John Barry, USAF (ret.) slid into the cockpit of an RV-12, taking off and safely landing three times.The WAP program has been offered for several years and offers hands-on learning for students in grades 6-12 to immerse themselves in the aerospace industry. Through support from the James C. Ray Foundation and Wings donors, students in the high school cohort have worked over the last four years to bring the RV-12 to life, building over 80% of the aircraft themselves with adult supervision."There have been several students on the build from the beginning, and I've immensely enjoyed watching their progress over the years, as well as the new kids who have also been involved," said Dave Yuskewich, WAP CTE coordinator and instructor, who has been leading the aircraft assembly since the beginning of the project. "They have been thrilled to watch this plane come together and couldn't be prouder to unveil the finished product."The students' first introduction to the RV-12 was a completely disassembled kit. Since then, they have turned the kit into a fully functioning aircraft, marking many milestones along the way, including a successful engine start, taxi test, airworthiness inspection, and finally flight."With the nation's second-largest aerospace economy, Colorado's industry is a great future destination for jobs for these students, and we couldn't be happier to be a part of getting them prepared at such a young age," said Maj. Gen. Barry. "We are so proud of the hard work of every student, past and present that has helped this plane come together, and salute the staff and volunteers that have led the aircraft assembly."
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