Rarely does a month go by that I don’t receive calls and emails from members in District III inquiring about the future of our hobby. The main concern is how do we get young folks interested in flying models?
Today’s generation has a thousand more choices for how to use its time than my generation did growing up. The fact is, there are many young folks who are excited about aviation today, however, the days of them showing up at our flying fields are gone.
Case in point: I received an inquiry from Ed Waske, a fellow modeler and president of Engine & Airframe Solutions Worldwide (EASW), asking if I would make a presentation about AMA to Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets.
The event was held at the North Central West Virginia Airport in Bridgeport, home of several aviation facilities including Pratt & Whitney,
Bombardier, Aurora Flight Sciences, EASW, Lockheed Martin, and more. Captain Bruce Dawson of the Elkins CAP squadron WV033 arranged to bring the cadets from several West Virginia counties into the facilities and spend the weekend immersed in aviation to show the cadets the career opportunities available to them in West Virginia and around the world.
I contacted Bill Pritchett, AMA’s director of education, and asked for his suggestions as to what I could do to educate these young adults. Bill informed me that AMA has a partnership with the CAP and that AMA has an “education kit” available to teach CAP cadets about aerodynamics, building, and flying. The kits consist of a Real Flight simulator, an RTF Flyzone Calypso, and the FPG-9, a 9-inch foamplate glider that students use to learn about building and aerodynamics.
I began my presentation with a PowerPoint about AMA. After a brief question-and-answer session, we began to assemble the FPG-9s. After a 10-minute building session, the fun really began when everyone flew their gliders.
The cadets learned how the control tabs allow the glider to turn and climb, and also how the center of gravity affects flight. After our session, I invited the CAP leaders and cadets to attend our club’s spring fly-in to fly their Calypso with buddy-box assistance from club members.
Thank you CAP Captain Bruce Dawson and EAWS President Ed Waske for organizing this event. I am sure this experience will have a positive influence in these young men and women’s future career choices.
If your club is looking for youth interested in aviation to keep our hobby and aviation alive, I suggest you contact your local CAP squadron and have an aviation day at your club field.
For more information about how AMA can help your club promote model aviation through CAP, visit www.amaflightschool.org or contact Bill Pritchett at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (800) 435-9562, extension 515.
Mark Radcliff AMA Vice President
email@example.com Tel.: (304) 684-2133