Tuskegee Airmen Heart of Carolina » 2014 Sanderford Community Center Youth Aviation Academy

2014 Sanderford Community Center Youth Aviation Academy

After 2 successful years of the Youth Aviation Academy, HOCC decoded to continue into a third year. And, it was decided that we would retain the same group of youth that we had worked with for two years. We began to develop the schedule in anticipation of having twelve to fifteen kids. It was decided that the topics for 2014 would be similar to 2013, but with an additional level of complexity and challenge.

The format of the 2014 Youth Academy was:

    • Review of the Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen & Introduction to Modeling Jan. 1st
    • Modeling flight competition Feb. 1st
    • Advanced MS Simulator Exercises and Games Mar. 1st
    • Introduction to airport operations & Tour of RDU Terminal 2 and Fire Station Apr. 5th
    • Young Eagle Flight – Johnston County Airport May 3rd
    • Program Wrap Up at NCDOT – Aviation June 7th

The first two sessions of our 2014 Aviation Youth Academy gave the kids an opportunity to learn and apply various aerodynamic concepts that make airplane flight possible. During the January Session 1, each youth was provided an advanced paper plane kit and asked to precisely construct the plane according to instructions.  Not only were they given precise instructions on how to put the glider together, they were told how to tweak ailerons and rudder to improve the flight characteristics.

In the February Session 2, we held a fun filled competition where each youth “flew” their planes in several events including distance flown, turns, and accuracy landings.  Awards and prizes were given to all participants as each child was truly a winner in at least one event.   Our goal for learning and having fun was fully achieved in these two sessions.

The purpose of the March 1st Flight Simulator session was to give the students an opportunity to put the theory of flight into practice. The objective of the session was to take off from runway 23L at Raleigh Durham Airport, fly a direct course to the Sanford airport, and land successfully. This required their attention to the planes instruments to keep the plane under control and on course. Even though each kid felt bravado and skills before the exercise, after a few minutes of practice, they realized that it was not the “piece of cake” they thought it would be. The exercise was not only fun but was challenging for them to accomplish this successfully.

April we got to take a “behind the scenes” tour of the Raleigh Durham Airport. This special tour was arranged by John Graves, Airport Operations Director. We tried to continually impress upon the kids that what they were seeing and doing, very, very few people get to see and do. The itinerary was: 1) Welcome by Mr. Graves at the Operations Building; 2) Fire station; 3) Baggage System; Ground Gate Control. The tour lasted approximately 3 hours and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

May was the month of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) sponsored Young Eagle flights. These are flights where EAA members donate their time and aircraft to take youth, 8 – 18 years of age, on a short flight, at no cost to the youth. The event took place at Johnston County Airport. Jim Dukeman, Young Eagle coordinator for the EAA Apex, NC Chapter, and his wife Sandy handled all of the flight administration. Don Dixon and LeRoy Walker, Apex EAA Chapter members, did the flying. Fourteen excited youth “slipped the surly bonds of earth” and had the time of their lives. The vast majority had never flown before, so this day was really special.

The final session of the 2014 Academy was more than just a social, fun event. Mr. Gregory Poole hosted the Academy at his hanger at RDU. He gave an excellent presentation on his involvement in aviation as it supports his corporate enterprise. The kids were attentive, answered his questions, and had some good questions for him. After his talk, he allowed the kids to venture into his Citation X corporate Jet. They were impressed.

After the tour and presentation with Mr. Poole, the group returned to the NCDOT Aviation hanger for the family picnic. We had a great picnic meal, coordinated by Peggy Dixon, and gave gifts and certificates to the kids. It was a good year!

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