Author photo

By Hudson Kaiser
contributing writer 

Tehachapi Build-A-Plane makes progress


January 21, 2023


Working on the plane.

Some of you may have been wondering how the Build-A-Plane (BAP) program is going. We have been working every Monday and Wednesday since 2018 and have even brought back the academic classes on Fridays in recent months.

The Friday classes have been moved to VOCS. Aside from the time we hold class, you may want to know how to join BAP. Students and mentors come from 3 to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays at the hangar by the fuel tanks or 17W.

If you are interested in coming to BAP, whether you'd like to become a mentor or are a high schooler, please contact me, Hudson Kaiser, and I will get you to one of our hangars (see end of this article for contact information). Students that attend VOCS can receive credit for coming to BAP, but everyone else is there for the love of aviation.

We are starting another plane in a hangar owned by Tim Mcguire, one of our mentors. It is a T-28 which is a very large airplane used to train recruits of the airforce and navy during the 1950s. Ryan Saltzman and I are each team lead and mentors of two other airplanes. I manage the construction of the RV-9 and Mr. Saltzman leads the construction of the RV-10. Zeke Scott is in charge of training new students in the hangar by the fuel pumps. We start them off with testplates of rivets before graduating them to a toolbox, and eventually they are allowed to work on one of the airplanes after about 6 to 8 weeks.

At a recent Tehachapi Society of Pilots dinner, Paul Nafziger, the man who started BAP, gave an update. According to Paul, we have six planes ready to be completed; a minimax, velocity, RV-10, RV-9, T-28, the Zenith and a corvair engine ready to be rebuilt. He said the Zenith only needs its 40 hours to be flown, but weather and health has been preventing that.

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At this Tehachapi Society of Pilots (TSP) dinner, new officials also took over the society. Paul Nafziger is the new president, Tim Mcguire is the new vice president, Kathe Sickles is the new treasurer and I am the newest secretary of the society. BAP is an outreach program of TSP so if you know anyone involved in TSP they may be interested in helping BAP, as well.

To sum it up, BAP has a lot of work that needs to be done and we would love more students and mentors with applicable experience to help us out. Students that have come to BAP throughout their high school careers have gone on to become engineers, as well as pilots because of the program. Joining BAP and experiencing our classes will ensure students learn invaluable skills with their hands and knowledge to aid them throughout their entire lives.

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If you have any questions, you can check out the Build-a-Plane Tehachapi Facebook page or you can visit If there are any further questions or you would like to get involved with the program feel free to send me an email at

Hudson Kaiser is a High School junior at Valley Oaks Charter School.


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