It’s Time to Sign Up for the Heavy Lift STE(A)M Challenge!

Heavy-Lift Challenge Logo
Heavy Lift Challenge Logo

The AMA is a collection of model aviation enthusiasts who build and fly model aircraft of all sizes for fun and competition. The Heavy Lift Challenge is one such competition!

The challenge calls for the use of a Horizon Hobby AeroScout S 1.1m

Each team, which consists of 2 to 4 youth members from grades 6 to 12, will engineer a payload carrying and deliver mechanism. The goal is to engineer your Horizon Hobby AeroScout model aircraft to carry the greatest volume of water possible. Students participating in the competition must be AMA members.

Teams can expect to learn plenty of knowledge, including the fundamentals of flight, aviation safety, and meteorology. They will be able to apply knowledge of aerodynamic principles, weight and balance, atmospherics, wind, humidity, the importance of safety inspections and the safe handling of hazardous materials.

One benefit to participation in the Heavy Lift Challenge is that you can compete anywhere! Submissions for this competition are based around both video and text that demonstrate what specifics of the challenge the teams met.

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.

Submissions to the competition are due by May 1, 2023, and completion of all Ground School coursework is required to participate.

And there are other benefits to competing, besides all the knowledge you’ll have access to; there’s also up to $3,000 of prize money available. The award amounts for first, second, and third place will be determined based on registration turnout.

If you are interested in competing and you have any questions, reach out to the AMA Education Team at We can’t wait to see you fly!


    1. Thanks so much for voicing your concerns with us Steve! This competition was actually created with the goal of keeping costs in check. In researching similar competitions geared towards students, we found similar competitions often cost thousands of dollars more, and serve fewer students per team. Our competition has been created in a way that limit the costs for the aircraft, the travel, and the ground schooling. We’ve also been able to reduce the costs of our program specifically by finding financial backers like the Academy of Model Aeronautics Foundation who have made funds available to assist both individual teams and the competition as a whole. While there are many avenues to funding a team that we encourage; fielding a team is our goal. Reach out to with any questions about the Heavy Lift Challenge program, and how to be considered for financial assistance for your team.
      Have a great day ahead!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *