Skip to comments.Pilots give students taste of flight
Posted on 11/02/2013 6:43:32 AM PDT by SandRat
SIERRA VISTA Hopping out of several different private planes at the Sierra Vista Municipal Airport, a group of third-graders from Imagine Charter School at Sierra Vista couldnt wait to compare experiences.
They started chattering back and forth, some jumped up and down.
It was so awesome. I got to fly. I almost puked.
That last statement came from third-grader Juaduan Perez, who discovered on Friday that he is most comfortable on the ground.
It felt weird, Juaduan said, of his first flight in an airplane.
Judging from the reaction of his peers, Juaduan was the exception and not the rule.
More than 140 local students from four different schools took to the skies on Friday via wings provided by about a dozen local pilots volunteering their time, expertise and planes. Most left bubbling with excitement, carrying a log book and a Young Eagles program certificate in tow.
Today any child from 8 to 17 years of age has the same opportunity, providing a parent or legal guardian grants written approval.
Starting at 7 a.m. with breakfast, the 20th annual Sierra Vista Municipal Airport Fly-In and Open House kicks-off its public day, which lasts until 11 a.m. Free flights will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis and organizers anticipate a large turnout.
In addition to free flights and aircraft displays, this years event features a special guest.
Sierra Vista native Jessica Cox will be on hand with her customized plane. Cox holds the Guinness World Record for being the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilots license, according to a city release.
But the main attraction and impetus for the event, which is sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association and the City of Sierra Vista Airport Commission, is a chance to fly.
Ellie Thompson, a third-grader from Imagine, said she even got to steer the plane for a moment.
It felt like I was the only one up there, she said.
Ellie had been scared at first but once she was airborne she felt safe.
She wants to be a pilot, because I want to, like, make kids want to ride too, Ellie said. She wants to do what her pilot did for her.
It was the first flight for Juan Alcarez, Ellies classmate, too.
I loved it, I wanted to go again. It felt like, I was like flying, Juan said. We saw little cars, they were like little toy cars. And then we saw a lake, it was like a pool.
Arrianna Santiago, also a third-grader from Imagine, said she wasnt scared, even though it was her first time in a plane.
It was awesome I kind of like going into high places, she said.
So does Roland Bockhorst, a private pilot from Hereford. Bockhorst said he had his first flight when he was 16 and has been a pilot for the last 50 years.
While he was helping out on the ground on Friday, Bockhorst has taken some Young Eagles up in recent years.
Its fun seeing the enjoyment on the kids faces, answering the questions the kids have, he said.
Its also important to generate enthusiasm for the avocation among young people.
For the most part pilots are gray-haired, he said.
Maria Ford, a third-grade teacher at Imagine, said she plans to correlate the field trip to core subjects in the classroom. The students will write about their experience and also use it to practice math.
They loved it, Ford said. Its a good way to inspire interest in aviation.
It might be such a memorable experience for them that they might just keep that in the back of their minds for the future, she said.
If you go
The Sierra Vista Municipal Airport Fly-In and Open House is open to the public today from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Breakfast is available for $5 for adults and $3 for children under the age of 12.
Flights will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis to children 8 to 17 years old who have signed permission from a parent or guardian.
The Sierra Vista Municipal Airport is located 3 miles north of the Buffalo Soldier Trail and Fry Boulevard intersection on the west side of Highway 90 at 2100 Airport Drive.
The 99s used to run penny-a-pound flights in Tucson back in the 60s.
My first flight, with a guy who owned a Mooney.
Cost all of 80 cents.
We were up in a 4 seater when a guy got sick. That was a fun ride.
Back in the day, My Catholic school somehow managed to get a NASA Pilot to come in and speak. He brought in a scale model of the 747 with the space shuttle on top. We were amazed.
This was back in 1977.....and it was the best memory of my time there.