Flying. Since the beginning of time, children (and adults, for that matter) have dreamed and fantasized about flight. From early attempts at human flight during the renaissance, to the success of Orville and Wilbur Wright on the dunes at Kill Devil Hills in 1903, mankind has yearned to fly.
I remember the first time I was given the chance to get up close and personal with an airplane. I was 12 years old, and the rush of excitement I felt when my uncle suggested we go rent an airplane and do some sightseeing was intense. I had been building radio control models for a year or two, spending countless hours gluing balsa, doping fabric, and hand painting a Sun Ray paint scheme on a scale Super Decathlon. Usually they were reduced to pile of nitro and castor oil soaked splinters during their maiden flight; but that was always motivation to build a better one. I was also becoming an expert on the original version of Microsoft Flight Simulator. This was my chance to see what it was like to really fly that 172 I could so expertly maneuver around Meigs field on my MS-DOS based 386.
My uncle, an airline captain, put me up front and I watched him run through checklists as we prepared for flight. I was so excited to be in an airplane, I could barely contain myself. From my first experience of flight I was hooked for life. The sounds, smells, sights and feelings were surreal.
Fast forward 10 years. I was asked by a co-worker to assist with an event at The Ohio State University airport educating scouts on aviation. I eagerly accepted the invitation to volunteer with the Youth Aviation Adventure. I was given the opportunity to teach aerodynamics to scouts working towards their aviation merit badge. Incorporating a real airplane as a teaching aid was the best part. Engaging the scouts as we discussed the principles of flight, and demonstrated the various aerodynamic devices on the Turbo Arrow was a wonderful experience for me. I could see much of the same excitement in their eyes that I had the first time I was up close and personal with an airplane.
The Youth Aviation Adventure has grown steadily since its inception in 1997, sharing a piece of aviation with kids across the country. I would encourage any youth with that dream of flight to attend one of these outstanding programs.
By Artie Clark
Youth Aviation Adventure is currently held in 21 cities across the country from Alaska to Florida and many places in between. The list grows every year, so if you can’t find a program near you now, check back frequently! https://youthaviationadventure.org
|Anchorage, AK||Orlando, FL||Dayton, OH||Albert Lea, MN|
|Big Bear, CA||Atlanta, GA||Toledo, OH||Dickinson, ND|
|Santa Monica, CA||Muncie, IN||Shawnee, OK||Spokane, WA|
|Denver, CO||Columbus, OH||Aurora, OR||Eau Claire, WI|
|Jacksonville, FL||Cincinnati, OH||Stevensville, MD||Sheboygan Falls, WI|