September 20, 2019
Eagle’s Nest Project mentors helping Granbury High School aviation students construct airplanes were honored during the Granbury ISD school board meeting on September 16, 2019.
GHS teacher Mark Kirk thanked the group of mentors, who have helped Granbury students since the 2016-17 school year and are now working on the program’s third plane.
“Besides the spectacular group of mentors that have been working with us over the past four years, we now have five former students who have returned to be student mentors for the program,” commented Kirk. “With their help, we will have two planes out the door and flying this year. We also have more students than ever who are eager to get their private pilot certificates.”
The Eagle’s Nest program was first proposed during Summer 2016 by now-Granbury Regional Airport manager Pat Stewart. The proposal was to allow a foundation to provide a complete airplane kit to the high school for assembly by students with local volunteer mentors overseeing the construction.
Lead mentor Kevin Ross and other local mentors joined Kirk to assist and guide the students in the assembly of the kit from start to finish in about eight months. The program motto is "Mentors Build the Student, Students Build the Aircraft."
The first student-built plane took flight on October 21, 2017, culminating the first year of the program at GHS.
GHS students are eligible to receive up to twenty hours of free flight instruction in the aircraft that they built. To be eligible for the instruction, students must pass Federal Aviation Administration written examination for a private pilot license.
Eagle's Nest provided the seed money for the first two aircraft kits before the program became self-sustaining through the sale of the first-completed aircraft to cover the cost of the third. That system will follow in future years.
Part of the high school’s career and technical education program, aerospace engineering and aviation science are popular courses for GHS students. A third class offering – Project Based Research in Aviation – allows students to work closely with classmates and mentors and build the RV-12 planes.
Pictured are (left to right) Mark Zimmerman, Terry Heffley, Mark Kirk, and Kevin Ross.