The 2023 Heavy-Lift STE(A)M Challenge Registration Is Now OPEN!


Registration is open for AMA's latest engineering challenge for its youth membership: the 2023 Heavy-Lift Challenge!

                Are you always on the lookout for ways to put your model aviation expertise to the test? Do you relish the opportunity to solve difficult challenges using hands-on engineering skills? Have you ever wondered whether there’s a good way to learn about atmospheric meteorology and lithium battery safety at the same time? For all these reasons and more, the AMA Education team is pleased to announce the return of our Heavy-Lift STE(A)M Challenge for the Spring 2023 season! Last year we were thrilled to see Model Aviation Student Club members in Hawaii rising to meet the challenge in a variety of ways.

Student pilot flying Aeroscout in Hawaii.
A student aeromodeler testing out their modified AeroScout as part of the 2022 Heavy-Lift Challenge

Think you can do better? Here’s your chance; this year we’re excited to open the competition up to our ENTIRE youth membership, whether they are part of a MASC or not! Registration is open NOW and the earlier you sign up, the better positioned your team will be for victory!

                The Challenge itself is straightforward: using your aircraft – a Horizon Hobby AeroScout S 1.1m – your team will assist with local wildfire response efforts by delivering as much water as possible. To accomplish this, you will need to engineer both modifications to the airframe itself as well as a robust payload delivery mechanism. You will need to draw on your knowledge of flight fundamentals, meteorology, and aviation safety. These are provided through the AMA’s Ground School training module, which you will be enrolled in upon registration.

                Teams will consist of 2-4 individuals in grades 6-12 and must additionally be sponsored by an assigned adult member. Once you’ve registered, your team will receive a detailed rulebook laying out the specifics of the Challenge, and are encouraged to begin designing, engineering, and testing whenever possible! Early registrants will not only have more time to work on the Challenge, but you’ll save on registration fees (details below). Once you’ve reached a solution, you’ll share your results through both video and text-based presentations, meaning that this is a competition where EVERY team has a homefield advantage!

Of course, this is a competition with prizes as well! Up to $3,000 of prize money is available, with the award amounts for first, second, third, etc. to be determined based on registration turnout. The more teams competing, the better!

Thanks to the AMA Foundation’s generous support of the Education team’s goals, for this year’s program we were able to implement a radical reduction in registration fees; the 2023 Heavy-Lift Challenge will cost only $99.99 for all teams looking to participate. If a sponsor has more than one team, any team after the original team will cost half the registration fee! The cost of registration includes access to AMA Ground School Curriculum. However, the purchase of the required AeroScout model is not included in the cost of registration. Registration for Heavy Lift closes on April 1, 2023.

All registrants must be AMA members (if you’re not one already, joining is quick and easy at and must also complete the AMA Ground School coursework in order to participate.

                Want to see what there is to look forward to? Here’s a peek at how our Hawaiian MASC teams did it last year:

                Any questions? Feel free to reach out to the AMA Education team at at any time and we’d be happy to help you out! We’re very excited to share this Challenge with you and looking forward to seeing who rises to meet it this coming year.

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