Teen Aircraft Factory of Manasota

The Teen Aircraft Factory of Manasota (TAFM), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida, provides a hands-on learning experience for the next generation of young pilots, mechanics and aviation professionals.  Learn more at our website:   Teen Aircraft Factory of Manasota Website and click here to take a look at a recent article in Sarasota Magazine .

Each Saturday, ten to fifteen students aged 14-18 from area schools and diverse backgrounds work all day under the guidance of their volunteer aviation mentors 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.  In addition, 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.  

Why GoFundMe?
As an aviation mentor who has the pleasure of spending my Saturdays with this great group of kids, I am looking to raise $10,000 to help TAFM to continue operating this weekly program for young adults interested in aviation at no cost to the students.  Any donation will help make a big impact and as a 501(c)(3) organization, your donation is eligible as a tax deduction! 


The $10,000 we are seeking will bolster assist in kit and overhead costs, overall cash flow and improve component availability.  The time from initial kit purchase until airplane completion presents an ongoing cash outlay challenge.  It is important to have enough cash flow in order to purchase all the kit components to make them consistently available to the teens for build.  Delays disrupt work momentum and cause students to lose interest.  100% of donations will go for airplane components and hangar/shop rent.  

The airplane kit, engine and instruments cost approximately $80,000 and the hangar/shop space is an additional $6,000 per year.  No labor costs for mentors or students is incurred.  An additional amount of administrative costs exist for business registration, insurance, etc.  Due to market competition, finished airplanes are sold just below total kit cost approximately 30 months after initial cash outlays.


The six-year old TAFM recently completed its second Vans RV-12 airplane.  Proceeds from airplane sales help fund the next kit and keep the program alive, allowing us to reach more students. The first RV-12 is 4 years old and has flown over 850 hours. The third RV-12 is now under construction.  So far, the tail section is complete and the wings are on order.

To learn more about the Teen Aircraft Factory of Manasota, visit our website at: Teen Aircraft Factory of Manasota 

Thanks in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to me.
  • sheila halpin 
    • $250 
    • 1 mo
  • Reyna Gonzalez 
    • $50 
    • 8 mos
  • Sheila Halpin 
    • $500 
    • 10 mos
  • Alessandra Moragne 
    • $100 (Offline)
    • 12 mos
  • Corrin Smith 
    • $300 (Offline)
    • 12 mos
See all


Ron Handley 
Sarasota, FL
Teen Aircraft Factory of Manasota 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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