PNB Aviation Club Feature


Courtesy of Kelly Wu

Students from PV, North Scott, and Bettendorf work together on the tail cone of the RV-12 with assistance from EAA mentors.

Sarah Chen, Copy Editor

“Well, not all education has to occur in a classroom.” 

In 2017, Director of Secondary Education Mike Zimmer was approached about building a plane at PVHS. Inspired by the idea, he aimed to create a community based club that encompassed not only PV but also North Scott and Bettendorf.

The PNB Aviation Club came to fruition in September of 2021 with the knowledge and experience of non-profit organization EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) chapter 75. Volunteer mentors from the chapter provide students with basic information on safety precautions and manufacturing techniques like riveting and fluting.

Advisors also represented each of the respective schools, facilitating by watching over the students. Science teacher Zach Miller expressed his interest in the club when approached to be an advisor. “As someone who has had an interest in aviation and planes for a long time I jumped at the opportunity. All I could think about was how awesome this opportunity was going to be for students,” he explained.

Building the plane helps develop skills that are vital in any STEM field, including hands-on technical experience, teamwork and problem solving. 

Sophomore Kelly Wu described how the club has taught her about teamwork as well as the physical construction process. “Not only is the club a fantastic way to develop and strengthen communication and cooperation skills, but it’s also an opportunity to get hands-on experience with building. While the club is useful for future mechanics or engineers, it’s a great place for anyone wanting to learn some new things,” she said. 

The end goal of the aviation club is to build an RV-12, a homebuilt airplane that is assembled from kits. So far they have built the vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, tail cone and wings and are currently working on the cockpit. The RV-12 is projected to be completed within the 2022-2023 school year. 

The Aviation club offers a community like no other. With experienced mentors from the local EAA, students from three different districts and a variety of different events, the Aviation club is a diverse world full of wonderful people and opportunities. 

For anyone interested in aircraft, there are plenty of amazing resources and connections within the club. Wu encourages all students to join the club, “No matter who you are, I’m sure that there’s something for you within the vast world of aviation.” 

To learn more about the PNB Aviation program, contact Mr. Miller at [email protected] or Ms. Wilson at [email protected]. Website link: PNB Aviation Club (