An Aviation AdventureA group of youngsters took a hands-on approach to the aviation industry during the Youth Aviation Adventure held at the Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport on Saturday.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
A group of youngsters took a hands-on approach to the aviation industry during the Youth Aviation Adventure held at the Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport on Saturday.
About 25 kids spent the day learning about aerodynamics, career opportunities, airport operations, safety and the mechanics of aircrafts.
The YAA program was the first in North Dakota.
The national program teams up local pilots and officials with kids who want to learn about different aspects of aviation.
The children sat in the cockpit and worked the controls, did a pre-flight inspection, tinkered on an engine and worked with the fire truck. Eleven-year-old Jakob Ohl said he enjoyed the interaction with the planes.
“I like learning about the controls and gauges and how things work,” he said. “This is pretty fun.”
Josh Zellers, chief pilot at the airport, said the students were full of enthusiasm, and that it was inspiring.
“It takes you back to when you first started and rebuilds the excitement,” he said. “Flying does become work and after a while it is just going to the office and kind of humdrum, but you do things like this and you get reenergized about it.”
An air force helicopter unexpectedly landed at the airport, which gave the kids an added bonus, flight instructor Scott Suchor said.
“The helicopter coming in was a big thing for all of them,” he said.
Isaiah Privratsky said talking with the air force personnel made him want to become a pilot.
The cost for the YAA program was offset from funding from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.
All the materials from the event will be put together as a kit for other airports in the state to use as a guideline, Airport Authority Commission Chairman Jon Frantsvog said. Zellers said it is good to show that the airport is user-friendly and there are professionals who are willing to answer questions and help kids pursue their interests.
“What I think is neat about this, is they actually get to come out and get close with it,” he said.
Airport intern Rebekah Busse coordinated the program and said that it will likely be planned as an annual event.
Frantsvog said he hopes the kids will become “airport bums” and watch the planes and get excited about aviation.
“All of us that are pilots absolutely remember that first flight we took, or the first time we got to see an airplane up close,” he said. “You just never know with these kids, you might be giving them that opportunity and they will get the chance to discover what we have had the chance to discover, which is how much fun flying can be.”