Boeing predicts between now and 2035, the aviation industry will need more than a half a million commercial airline pilots.
SUN ‘n FUN and the Aerospace Center for Excellence have an innovative approach to solving that issue.
- "Classroom in the Sky" takes teachers up in single engine planes
- Hope is to provide educators with inspiration to incorporate aviation into learning
- Aerospace Discovery Weekend Oct. 21-23
Each year, the organization hosts “Classroom to the Sky”, a unique aeronautic learning experience for teachers. That experience involves giving educators rides on single engine planes where they sit next to the pilot and learn about flying.
The Aerospace Center for Excellence hopes the teachers will walk away with ideas on how to incorporate aviation into lesson plans. For example, the center's education director, Richele Floyd, showed them how creating a flight plan can involve concepts teachers are already teaching in the classroom.
"The educational components are endless," said Floyd. "You can incorporate aviation into math, science, geography, biology, and history. You can take it anywhere."
Evette Rivera, a kindergarten teacher at Channelside Academy of Math and Science, was among the group of educators participating in Classroom in the Sky on Saturday.
"I feel amazing right now," said Rivera, who prior to this experience had never flown in a single engine craft. "On a personal level, the flight was amazing. It was a great opportunity and I feel lucky I had it. The pilot was fantastic."
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During Rivera's flight, pilot David Fuller allowed her to take control of the plane. She said she couldn't wait to tell her students about her experience.
"We talked already about having them out for career day and talking to us about flying and all of that good stuff,” Rivera said.
Floyd said by the end of the year, she’ll be flying her plane out to schools to assist teachers with aerospace lessons.
SUN'n FUN is also inviting families to come out and fly during its Aerospace Discovery Weekend Oct. 21- 23. $10 admission will include a flight opportunity to anyone ages 8-17 who registers for the event before October 14th.
Other activities at the event include a flight simulator experience, solar and stellar exploration, and admission to Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum.