Read more….(Stem through the Lens of Aviation)

The value of an airport like Alexandria Field for inculcating love for aviation in youth is apparent in the facilities at the airport, which include two classrooms loaded with eye-catching paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling, on the walls and tables, and in every closet. There are all kinds of “things used for flying” there: a 3-D printer, robotic arms, Arduino boards, radio equipment, wings, propellers, a balloon basket, weather instruments, tools, rockets, a student-built wind tunnel, and a brand new 50 square foot flight simulator built by students. The simulator takes students back in time through a creatively-engineered door that resembles one from an antique airplane.
“It’s a cool place,” says Castner.
As an example of aviation’s value in promoting STEM learning, she cites nearby Kingwood Township school and teacher Tanya Brooks, who several times a year brings of approximately 22 students each to the airport. On the field trips, the students participate in labs such as What Makes an Airplane Fly, Rockets, Solar Balloons, Navigation, and Weather. The two hour labs place students in real-life situations where what they learn in the classroom can be applied elsewhere in their lives.
SAFE encourages aviation education in schools with small yearly grants that enable teachers to design and use aviation-themed lessons in the classroom. Until this year, the organization awarded two grants each year, one for an elementary school teacher and one for a secondary teacher. This year, thanks to a generous donor, SAFE will be awarding four such grants.

Read more…(Career CFI)

It’s not enough just to rack up the hours. You have to commit to the cause. I became a Master CFI for the first time in July of 2005. I have repeated the Master designation every two years since then, holding both Master of Flight and Master of Ground designations.
I became a full-time CFI on May 23, 2015. Perhaps because it was expected of me, I tried the airline route. I quickly discovered it was not a good fit. I am a teacher. I want my clients to succeed.
I teach because I love it, and when in the right environment, being a CFI is a wonderful experience.
Today I work at SpanaFlight, located at KPLU in Puyallup, WA, a school that values flight instruction as much as I do. The corporate culture is that flight instruction changes lives, because when you teach someone to fly you are teaching them a life-altering skill – like teaching them to read, ride a bike or swim.
My coworkers kept tabs on my dual instruction given hours. The question was how to make the flight special? Other milestone hours had themes. For hour 1,000 I wore a prom gown and a tiara (there was a joke about getting stood up so much as a CFI that you should be wearing prom gown). For hour 2,000 I wore my father’s flight jacket as he had just passed on. Hour 3,000 involved a tiara and the gauntlets from my warrior princess costume along with my flight school uniform.
Star Trek was chosen as the theme for hour 4,000 because I am a big fan of the franchise and often imitate the voice of Captain Janeway of Star Trek Voyager while making proper radio calls. My boss announced he would be the client for hour 4,000. He dressed as Spock (Zachary Quinto interpretation) complete with a rubber headpiece for the hair and ears. I dressed as Captain Janeway. We practiced specialty take offs and landings on a murky Seattle morning. It was glorious.
I hope I never lose this passion for flight instruction.