Saturday, April 22, 2017

HEC-TV Broadcasts New Special Program, The Science Behind Aviation, From St. Louis School

By Carmelo Turdo
(HEC-TV graphic)
The Higher Education Channel (HEC-TV) produced and aired live another great special program, The Science Behind Aviation, on ThursdayAfter months of preparatory work, the production staff and panel of expert guests arrived at the Jennings School District where a full broadcast studio was recreated for the 10am and 1pm live simulcasts involving schools from across the country.  The Aero Experience was privileged to assist Producer Jacqui Poor with gathering some background material and connecting with our airshow partner, Patrick McAlee of ExtremeFlight.   We are also proud to support this HEC-TV aviation education special by sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the broadcast and by promoting viewership when it is made available to the public in the near future.
As implied by the title, the program examined the science of flight from the perspective of four expert panelists and two additional guests via video and Skype.  The panelists were (L-R): Robert Dowgwillo, Aerodynamics Engineer with the Boeing Company; Major Mallory Nordquist, C-21A pilot and former C-5 Galaxy pilot now at Scott AFB, IL; Host Tim Gore; Patrick McAlee, Aerobatic Pilot with ExtremeFlight; and Lt. Col. (USAF, Ret.) Steve Dobronski, former F-15 Eagle pilot and currently F-15 Mission Planning Senior Systems Engineer for Tapestry Solutions.  Also included in the program were St. Louis area pilot and publisher Gary Liming with his Zenith kit-built STOL aircraft and paper airplane champion Ken Blackburn.

The studio location for the broadcast was the Jennings School District's Gary Gore Community Education Center.  The panel discussion table was center stage, and tables and chairs were set up for the student audience participants.  A large monitor was provided to view videos and the classroom participants from other schools across the country.  Here we have some views of the guests and the preparations underway before the broadcast:   



The panel discussion had a cumulative effect of adding each guest to the conversation after a short biographical video introduction.  The first panelist was Robert Dowgwillo, who gave some guidance on the design process of an aircraft.  He emphasized that the F-15 Eagle was specifically designed for air superiority, or gaining control of the skies, so that the rest of the military forces can perform their roles.  The size, materials, performance and other factors must conform to the specific purpose, or mission, of the aircraft.  Patrick McAlee joined the discussion from the perspective of an airshow pilot, emphasizing the specific design requirements of his modified Pitts Special, the effects of g-forces, the need for situational awareness and the necessity of physical fitness in his type of flying.  Lt. Col. Steve Dobronski described flying the USAF F-15 Eagle high-performance fighter, controlling the effects of g-forces on the body during air combat maneuvering, and how temperature and pressure affect aircraft performance.  USAF Major Mallory Nordquist related her experience flying the largest U.S. military cargo aircraft, the C-5 Galaxy, weighing over 800,000 pounds on takeoff.  The enormous aircraft flies like any other, using the same laws of physics, though on a larger scale than with other aircraft.  Gary Liming appeared via pre-recorded video showing off his kit-built Zenith STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) aircraft, and Ken Blackburn taught the visiting students how to make (and launch) a championship paper airplane.   

Following the broadcast, some of the students stayed to meet the panelists and discuss pathways to various aviation careers.  As more students learn about the science behind aviation, it is hoped that they will continue to develop an interest in a career in one of the many aviation vocations that are now in desperate need of more skilled workers.  

The Aero Experience looks forward to the publishing of the special program for public access soon, and we thank HEC-TV, the program guests and the production crew for allowing us to provide this preview story. 

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