The BushCat Build program, which offers students the unique opportunity to construct an actual aircraft, is a natural extension of Jemicy School’s other remarkable hands-on programs: Kinetic Sculpture Race, Woodshop, 3-D Printing, and Robotics that provide real-world applications of lessons learned in chemistry, physics, math, and even art and geography; it provides a compelling answer to, “Why do I have to learn this?” 

Students spend their weekends at Essex Sky Park in structured build sessions that focus on transferable skills, material science, aviation-specific fabrication techniques, and, of course, fun! They participate in skill-building exercises prior to applying those skills on the airplane itself. From safety wiring to soldering; assembling brake systems; and understanding the strength of materials, flammability, and much more, students acquire experience and skills that translate to areas outside of aviation. 

As the aircraft itself comes together, so does the bonding of the team, whose enthusiasm and commitment to the project intensifies at each stage. And, to add to the thrill of the build, each of the first team of students, under the careful supervision of a project mentor who is a commercial pilot, take control of a Cessna 172 during a flight over the Baltimore area! 

Designed to capture students’ imagination, programs like the BushCat Build program can open doors for future study.

This article is part of the 2023-2024 Guide to Baltimore Independent Schools.

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