Metro Tech Aviation Graduate plans to build world record-breaking aircraft

After Seth Eilerts graduated from Northwest Classen High School in 2003, he wasn’t sure what to do. He enjoyed vintage motorcycles, and after his mom showed him literature on the Aviation Program at Metro Tech, his interest in airplanes piqued. What do vintage motorcycles and airplanes have in common?

“They can both be built from the ground up. A career with airplanes sounded more promising,” Seth smiled.

Mom knows best, apparently. Shortly after beginning the program at Aviation Career Campus (ACC), Seth knew what to do with his life. Build airplanes.

He graduated from Metro Tech in 2010, received his AMP license and enrolled in pre-engineering courses at Oklahoma City Community College. Today, he is an Aerospace Engineering student at the University of Oklahoma and planning to build a piston-powered aircraft that intends to break the world record for altitude. The current world record is 57,000 feet and was set in 1938.

When Seth called on staff at ACC to offer guidance, ACC Site Director Pete Lee was flattered.

“Seth is leveraging his knowledge gained in our Powerplant Program, which validates the academic rigor of our programs,” he said.

And to Jawanza, an OU Aerospace Engineering graduate and lead on the team, Seth’s hands-on knowledge and resources at Metro Tech are invaluable.

“Although we read about materials needed to make this aircraft, today is our first time to see it, feel it and touch it. We are thankful for Seth’s real-world application experience from Metro Tech. He has assembled engines and done things that won’t pop up on simulation. It’s great to design in a computer, but we also need a realistic view of the project. People like Seth and Robert Hensley can help with mechanics of building an aircraft that we don’t have, and we’ve read all we can,” Jawanza said.

Although the end result is a few years away, the team is excited and committed to breaking the world record.