The Teen Aircraft Factory of Manasota (TAFM) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Sarasota / Bradenton, Florida. We are interested in mentoring the next generation of pilots, mechanics and aviation professionals. This hands-on program pairs pilots and aviation enthusiasts with students to build light sport airplanes. Our students, aged 14-18, are from area schools and diverse backgrounds.
Each Saturday, ten to fifteen students, under the guidance of their volunteer aviation mentors come together to build a two-seat, light sport airplane over 24-36 months. Through this program, they have an opportunity to develop their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) interest and skills including reading engineering drawings, using metal work tools, building production assemblies, and testing finalized components while staying organized and keeping documentation.
The teens have numerous opportunities to fly in light airplanes, discuss careers with professional pilots and TAFM alumni, and attend pilot ground school. Our volunteer mentors, with over 150 combined years of aviation experience, not only ensure the students learn aircraft mechanics, maintenance and piloting skills BUT perhaps more importantly, develop self-confidence, work discipline, commitment, team work, and leadership. While an airplane is built and flown, our mission is to build the next generation of aviation leaders—one airplane at a time. We are proud that 100% of our teen alumni have gone on to college or the military.
In addition, we provide college scholarships for outstanding students and also send one student per year to aviation summer camp at the EAA Air Academy Lodge in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Our volunteers are passionate about flying, building aircraft, and cultivating young adults into responsible, well-rounded individuals. The TAFM consists of volunteer mentors with over 150 combined years of aviation experience (military and civilian, commercial and sports aviation). Their goal is to ensure that the students learn the necessary skills to assemble their aircraft and, perhaps more importantly, develop self-confidence, work discipline, commitment, teamwork, and leadership.