Youth Aviation Adventure takes flight in Minden

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Updated: 1/14/2013 9:52 am
MINDEN, Nev. (KRNV & -- The Minden-Tahoe Airport is launching a new program to let kids take a test flight - of a career in aviation.

It's called Youth Aviation Adventure. Saturday more than two dozen kids got a sneek peek into the world of flight, as licensed pilots taught them about things like aerodynamics, preflight inspections and airport operations.

"Some people find it very boring, kind of like golf, but I find it interesting," said 12-year-old Hailey Peek.  

Peek  wants to be an aeronautical engineer when she grows up, so now she's getting a lesson at the airport thanks to the YAA program.

"It's a nation-wide program that encourages kids to get out and learn about aviation," said Chris Johnson, airport operations supervisor.

Johnson says the program is a free way for the kids to get hands on with aviation through fun group activites.

Laurie Harden, owner of Soaring NV, led the paper plate airplane station, which she says teaches them about airplane mechanics.

"You can make little tweaks to the shape of your airplane while you're flying it, and it can turn, it can loop, it can bank, it can go down it can go up," Harden said. "Those are the same properties that a real airplane has."
The kids got to test those properties using a flight simulator.

"One of the kids crashed the plane," Peek said. "It was funny. He went so fast that the wing fell off."

"I think the simulator was really fun," said 12-year-old Grant Blattman. "We got to fly around and mess around."

While it was their favorite activity, they also learned a lot from it.

"I learned that you have to kind of do it slowly," Peek said. "You can't make sudden movements."

"We learned about instruments and what that does for planes," Blattman said. 

While they're using creative exercises to teach the kids about planes, the program isn't just about fun and games. They also hope they inspire these kids to consider a career in aviation.

"Our country is facing a shortage of pilots," Johnson said.

"We think that we're going to be the training ground for new pilots and it's a great career," Harden said.

Blattman wants to go to MIT and study either physics or video game design, but he thinks aviation may be a good hobby. 

"I wanted to learn about airplanes and aerodynamics and everything about flight in general," Blattman said.

That's what Harden is hoping for.

"I guess i'm hoping that the kids walk away with their curiosity piqued and they want to come back for more," Harden said.  

They're planning to offer another free session in May.

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