The Ultimate STEM Education Experience

3 min read
Mar 14, 2017

Greetings All, from the nerve center of the AEROnautical Education Universe! Ok, actually, this is coming from a booth at the American Association of School Administrators Annual Conference on Education in New Orleans, LA. This is our first foray into the broader education market place introducing America to the AERO EDUC8R Network. I am sitting with the lovely and talented Joey Colleran who is the Director for New Business Development with Redbird Flight Simulations where we are offering the meeting attendees a chance to fly one of the new Redbird Jay “Velocity” desktop flight simulators. This conference also allows us an opportunity to show school superintendents how we utilize these simulators in our classroom to let kids see for themselves how math and science come to life through AEROnautics.

Our K-12 AEROnautics program is really the ultimate STEM education experience. Consider this: virtually everything a student studies in school can be applied when you learn how to fly or build an airplane. What subjects? How about algebra, physics, earth science, trigonometry, geometry, communications, physical fitness, and history to name a few. And once a student sees how these subjects are applied, they now begin to understand the relevance of their education. Our program puts students on one of two career and college pathways to success; the pilot track, the engineering track, or sometimes both. They can graduate high school as multi-engine commercial pilots. They also get to build real-live airplanes. So, no matter which pathway they intend to pursue, they walk away with industry certification and a better overall understanding of the world around them. These are the life skills we want for all of our children.

We have been working for more than 5 years learning the lessons, some of them hard, on how to incorporate our AEROnautics program into the existing curricular architecture of traditional public school districts. We have been testing our system with a small number of school districts to make sure that we are as smart as we think we are before we begin our larger roll-out beginning with this conference. And so far; so good!

The interest has been greater than expected and the feedback thus far has been good. The people stopping by aren’t quite sure at first why we are here. They first see our booth with banners and monitors and a flight simulator. Then they hear Joey say hello as they walk by. That seems to be the Siren’s Call! They cannot refuse her invitation to try their hand at landing a C172 with the G1000 panel on Runway 35 at PHLI. For the uninitiated among you, PHLI is Lihue Airport on the Island of Kauai, HI. We set up for a 3nm final and talk people through the landing.

The first thing people notice about the Jay Velocity is the graphics. The new software makes everything in the “windscreen” look great. The new drivers also help the “airplane” move very smoothly across the screen. The end results with our first-time “pilots” this week has been pretty good with most people able to walk away from their landings. Others, well, let’s call them entertaining.

After they land, I show these school administrators all of the math and science required to actually land an airplane. This helps them connect the dots as to why AEROnautics is such great program opportunity for K-12 school districts. Once they see that every subject a student studies in school can be applied to learning how to fly or build an airplane, they see the relevance of this experience. They also learn how we put these kids on career and college pathways that lead to good paying jobs in areas where our country needs them.

This has been a good week. We caught the end of Mardi Gras and had some amazing Chargrilled Oysters at ACME Oyster House. The one thing we could have used more of was sleep! As our conference winds down, we are already talking about the next time the AERO EDUC8R Network and Redbird can team up for our next event. So be on the lookout for us teaming up again. Maybe at an airshow. A really BIG airshow. In the summer. In Wisconsin!

Related: The Impressive Story of 24 Students that "Flew" Around the World