Sunday, November 30, 2008

Aerospace Education Appearance - CAP Goes to School

This is a regular blog post. If you’re looking for show notes or links to show audio, please check out the other posts.

While many of you know about CAP’s flight operations (we handle more than 95% of the USAF-supervised inland search and rescue operations in the United States), we also boast, in addition to the cadet program, the largest aerospace education operations in the country.

I got a unique opportunity last week to do an aerospace education (“AE”) appearance at Hickory Grove Elementary School where my son is a first-grader in Mr. Gayta’s class. I was a “secret reader,” which means that, at 11:30, I knock on the door, all of the kids assemble on the rug by the reading chair and close their eyes, and I go sit down in the chair for the big reveal.

I then read for five or ten minutes from John, the Airport Kid by John Perry Jopling and Hazel Joan Jopling, who we met at Podapalooza 2008 at Oshkosh.

To help increase the impact, I went decked out in my CAP flight suit and turned the occasion into a bit of an AE appearance. I got a lot of questions from the kids and there were minor skirmishes over who would get to wear my cover (flight cap). Cole was the proud wearer in this particular shot, although the cover got passed around pretty evenly.

I took advantage of the opportunity to tell the kids as much as I could about their local airports and the kinds of aircraft and pilots that one could find there. We also talked about CAP and its missions.

I also made sure to hit on the opportunities for women in aviation, which took some of the girls by surprise. The names of Patty Wagstaff, Marsha Ivins, Samantha Weeks, and others therefore crossed my lips more than once.

If you’re a pilot, put your time and energy where your mouth is and take the message to the kids whenever you can. Who knows what fires we can light!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Inspiring stuff as always.

I've become involved with the LAA (broadly equivalent to your EAA USside) here in the UK, helping with the Youth and Education Support side of things and have put together a wiki to compile ideas on what various organisations are doing to get youngsters involved in aviation.

I've linked this and a number of your other posts and podcasts there. It's at: