By – Kana Oliver
Joseph Aviation Class Journalist
The class began on August 29th, 2016 with 14 students. In our first classes, we learned what aeronautics was all about and what jobs were available through it. We began researching the many careers and jobs, including ATCs, military, engineers, commercial and private pilots, and many others. This led to the first quarter focusing on what aeronautics could lead to in the future. A couple weeks later we got to go to the Joseph airport and take turns flying with local pilots Wup Winn (Maule), Tim Locke (Cessna 182), and Andy McKee (Cessna 172). Some of the students got to take over flying while we were in the air.
Through the first quarter and beginning of second, we have had eight guest speakers visit us. The first was Andy McKee, a local CFI. The second was Brett Hayes, who is an ex-military flight engineer and also donated the simulator we use in class. Following him was Dave Campbell, the own of a hobby shop in nearby La Grande called “Hobby Habit”. He focused on teaching us about RC planes and how they work. Next was Michael Maslach, ex-air force and helicopter specialist. After that was Tim Locke and Mike who taught us about the shortage of pilots and hoped to encourage us to pursue an aviation career. And finally, Parker and Sarah Lucas. Sarah is in aviation planning and Parker is an aerial firefighter. Those two were able to show just how diverse aviation careers can be.
In the first quarter we also began reading Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche. Mr. Koehn had us read on our own and take notes on what we believed was important. Afterwards, we would go over the chapter together and take notes on anything we missed.
For our second field trip, we got to visit Hobby Habit. That was the first time we were able to use our new camera to document our “aviation adventures”. There, we got to learn even more about RC planes and even purchase two RC planes (Stratocam and Apprentice–we have also obtained a biplane and corsair elsewhere) and two controllers (X6 and X6E). So far, the students have been able to fly the Stratocam and the Apprentice.
For those not interested in potentially crashing an RC plane, we also have the simulator donated to us by Brett Hayes. Several students have been working on the simulator to get it up and running, and now, for the most part, it is! We are using the Flight Simulator X program. Through it, we are able to fly out of many airports, including Joseph’s, and practice controls very similar to exact to the ones you would use while flying a real plane.
In the second quarter, we have begun to focus on our GAMA/Build A Plane project. This is a design challenge that helps high school students learn STEM skills through aviation. We have been sent complimentary “Fly to Learn” curricula and software powered by X-Plane that will help us “build a plane”. Apply what we learn, we will be able to modify and fly a virtual airplane. We hope to win an all-expenses-paid trip for four students, one teacher, and one chaperone to experience general aviation manufacturing firsthand in the summer of 2017.
We began by researching the project itself and learning what they look for. Next, we researched Cessna 172s to learn what they have and what can be improved. Now, we have received our curriculum and materials. We are currently learning how to use the provided simulator and have been assigned different jobs. As the project continues, I will continue to document the process. If you would like, I can email you any notable updates that you may want to put on the website.