Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Students Experience Aviation at Two St. Louis Area STEM Programs

By Carmelo Turdo
St. Louis area students participated in two local STEM programs on Saturday. The programs, Soar Into STEM held at Wings of Hope and the St. Louis Science Center's Youth Exploring Science (YES), introduce teens to aviation by providing activities facilitated by experts in the field. The Aero Experience is pleased to support these programs through our promotion and coverage of their activities here and through The Aero Experience YouTube Channel. We spent half of the day with each program, and include some of the highlights below.

Soar Into STEM, Wings of Hope at Spirit of St. Louis Airport

The second week of Soar Into STEM was held at Wings of Hope, and The Aero Experience was on site to observe the morning session (the first week's activities and background of the program are covered in our previous story). The leader for the day's session was Cynthia Chapple, a chemist who works in the electronics industry. She conducted the academic sessions introducing new vocabulary, reviewing journal assignment topics and coordinating the scavenger hunt exercise with the assistance of volunteer aviation mentors. Students pictured below are participating in a vocabulary learning game and looking for clues during their hunt among the aircraft inside of the Wings of Hope hangar and outside on the parking apron.

The guest speaker for the second week of Soar Into STEM was Abby Sevier, an Aerospace Engineer at Boeing Research and Technology. She received her Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University and has conducted research for NASA's Glenn Research Center. Sevier gave first-hand examples of aerospace engineering projects from her experience with NASA and Boeing to illustrate the team-based process of developing aerospace vehicles. She also provided a live demonstration of vertical lift aerodynamics using a small UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), better known as a consumer-level drone, and used a 3-D printed wing section to illustrate the design of aircraft structures using non-metal materials (composites).   

Youth Exploring Science, St. Louis Science Center's Taylor Community Science Resource Center

Another STEM program in progress this spring is Youth Exploring Science (YES) from the St. Louis Science Center. Over 250 teens have been nominated to participate in the program, which provides a course of instruction in a variety of STEM fields, including agribusiness, medicine, cyber security and aerospace along with life skills mentoring from industry professionals. The aerospace track students are currently working through an online King Schools pilot ground school training syllabus while receiving live coaching by local CFIs (Certified Flight Instructors). Over the last two Saturdays, the students have supplemented their theoretical knowledge with flying experience gained in a Redbird SD flight simulator. Plans are being made for flights in general aviation aircraft at some time this summer.

The Aero Experience assisted in proctoring a class of YES students during their ground school self-study activities while CFI David Brickhouse gave brief lectures on the three axes of flight, aircraft control surfaces, angle of attack, coordinated turns, stalls, spins and related topics. The students were then able to put the theory into practice in the Redbird flight simulator. 

The Aero Experience thanks all those involved in making the Soar Into STEM and Youth Exploring Science programs available to St. Louis area teens. We will have coverage of future sessions as they are scheduled. 

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