Tuskegee Airmen Heart of Carolina » 2013 Sanderford Community Center Youth Aviation Academy

2013 Sanderford Community Center Youth Aviation Academy

In order to provide experiences that will continue to broaden the knowledge of youth with respect to the aviation community, the Heart of Carolina Chapter established a Youth Academy. This academy accepts 9 thru 12 year old youth (Cadet Flight), and middle school ages ( 1st Flight) to teach the basic knowledge of: 1- the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen; 2- aviation concepts; 3- preparation for flight training.

The very 1st HOCC Youth Academy participant organization is the Sanderford Road Community Center, located in Raleigh, NC. The chapter has launched with the Cadet Flight students, ages 8 – 12 years old. The program began in January and ran for six consecutive months on the first Saturday of the month. It started at 11am and end at 1pm each Saturday.

The format of the Youth Academy was:

    • Introduction to the Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen  Jan. 1st
    • Introduction to careers in the aviation industry Feb. 2nd
    • Introduction to the basics of Flight Mar. 2nd
    • Airplane modeling Apr. 6th
    • Flying a flight simulator May 4th
    • Aviation field trips June 1st

The Sanderford Rd. Community Center Aviation Youth Academy got off to a rousing start with 17 kids! The chapter was represented by seven members: Dick Lewis, Don Dixon, LeRoy Walker, Peggy Dixon, Ted Brooks, Tommy McNeill, and Welton Jones. Five parents stayed for the entire program. The youth were very attentive and asked very good questions.

The next session on February 2nd gave the kids an opportunity to meet and talk to individuals from 7 – 8 different aviation career paths. The format was discussion/roundtable. The guests (4 male, 4 female) included:

  • major airline pilot (confirmed)
  • military pilot (confirmed)
  • FAA Safety Inspector (confirmed)
  • FAA Controller (confirmed)
  • Airline customer service
  • Aircraft Mechanic (confirmed)
  • Educator/ Pilot/ Flight Instructor (confirmed)
  • flight attendant (confirmed)

The third session of the Youth Aviation Academy, on March 2nd, was finally moving into an area that really got the kids excited. Don Dixon led the session on Introduction to the Basics of Flight. Again we had a great crowd. There were twenty kids in attendance, and some eight or nine parents stayed for the program. Don structured this session around an AOPA program called PATH that is for middle and high school aged kids. The areas covered were:

  • Aviation Terminology
  • Aircraft structure
  • Cockpit instrumentation
    • Steam gages
    • Flat panel displays
  • Basic science of flight

The fourth session of the Youth Aviation Academy, on April 6th, got to the real nitty gritty of aviation – construction. The session focused on building models of the P51 Mustang, and was led by Welton Jones and Dick Lewis. Welton has been a model builder for many decades and Dick is relatively new to modeling. There were fourteen youth and seven HOCC members who participated.

The fifth session, on May 4th was attended by thirteen youth and seven HOCC members.   And, this session got the kids where they one day want to be – in the cockpit of a Cessna 172. This session had the kids learn the basics of, and actually fly the Microsoft X flight simulator. It was led by Dick Lewis, who had spent several weeks preparing the PC’s with the appropriate software, testing them, and then preparing the flight scenario that he would put the kids thru. Dick had prepared a total of seven PCs and laptops, which could support up to fourteen kids. As it turned out, the kids were fantastic in every way.

The June session was the Academy wrap-up and social. We had a fantastic picnic lunch that was hosted by our Social Chair Peggy Dixon and her committee. Peggy acquired donations from Chick fil A, Harris Teeter, and Food Lion. The kids received their certificates, T shirts and Tuskegee Airmen mugs.

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