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Three Tango Flight students stand beside their fully constructed airplane.
Hannah Nash
High school students gathered around fully constructed Tango Flights airplane.

First Flight High School’s new aviation course offers students the opportunity to build a FAA certified airplane utilizing Tango Flight’s hands-on curriculum.

Registration for this two-year pilot program will open to juniors and seniors at First Flight High School in February 2023. The class will begin at the start of the 2023-2024 school year and will take place at the birthplace of aviation on the Wright Brothers National Memorial grounds.

“Where the first airplane was built and successfully flown, almost 120 years later our students have the opportunity to build their first airplane,” said Director of Career and Technical Education and Administrative Services, Shannon Castilllo, Ed.D.

Three Tango Flight students stand beside their fully constructed airplane.


Over the course of two years, students will construct a Van’s RV-12iS model aircraft, a two-seat all-metal side-by-side airplane, utilizing Tango Flight’s curriculum and build kit. The course will introduce students to the disciplines of aerospace, electrical,  mechanical, manufacturing and design engineering. Building the airplane will reinforce STEM principles and objectives of the classroom curriculum. After extensive testing and certification by the FAA, each student involved in the project will be invited to ride in the plane piloted by a Tango Flight member.

Tango Flight’s curriculum encourages community involvement and mentorships to optimize the success of the program. “We believe we have such a strong aviation presence in the Outer Banks that value the next generation continuing in aviation that we will have some amazing community partnerships and volunteers to mentor our students,” Castillo said.

“We are beyond excited to be able to offer our students the opportunity to follow in the Wright Brother’s footsteps, on the same plot of land where powered flight first began. This program connects our heritage with our future. The dream that the Wright Brothers had, is being reborn for these aviators of tomorrow right here in our schools. It just doesn’t get any better than that,”  said Superintendent Steve Basnight.

Tango Flight Incorporated is a 501c3 educational non-profit corporation created to inspire the next generation of engineers, pilots, aviation mechanics and technicians. Their curriculum provides meaningful classroom learning with real hands-on  training. Tango Flight’s curriculum is currently offered in 22 locations in the United States. First Flight High School is the first location in North Carolina to offer this program to its students.