Students participate in Aviation Education Days |

Students participate in Aviation Education Days

by Caryn Haller

Special to The R-C

For three days last week, sixth-graders from all Valley elementary schools experienced up close the many diverse aspects of the aviation industry.

Thanks to the efforts of the Sports Aviation Foundation, 463 students participated in Aviation Education Days at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

“We do it because when we started Sports Aviation Foundation one of our missions was to provide education to children of the Valley who are our potential aviators of tomorrow,” said Gerie Stanko event coordinator and board member. “This is the point where they can get into aviation. You can learn to fly gliders at 12, you can join Civil Air Patrol, and you can get into Young Eagles.”

The students participated in nine, 12-minute long sessions from Care Flight, SoaringNV, Civil Air Patrol, Hutt Aviation and local pilots.

They learned about weather stations, pre-flight inspections, airport operations, glider and power plane mechanics, and how a flying ambulance works.

“They always like the helicopters best, so at the end when CareFlight took off, the doctors and nurses waved to the kids, and the kids waved back,” Stanko said. “It was all volunteers from the aviation programs of the Valley.”

The goal of the Sports Aviation Foundation is to help enhance the science technology, engineering and math education in the schools.

“We had a great time. It was well-organized, and the teachers and children were happy,” Stanko said. “It’s important the students and parents and Valley realizes this is one of the best places in America to glide and fly.”

This is the first year the program was offered to sixth-grade students, and Stanko said the foundation will be doing it again next year.

A grant from the Wolf Aviation Foundation out of Philadelphia provided the transportation expenses for the students.