Aviation and art classes soarOn Friday, Feb. 3, students from Two Harbors High School took turns practicing their piloting skills in the flight simulators at Lake Superior College.
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
On Friday, Feb. 3, students from Two Harbors High School took turns practicing their piloting skills in the flight simulators at Lake Superior College. They got to test their chops in the cockpit thanks to a partnership between the Two Harbors Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1128 and Lake Superior School District Community Education.
The program, dubbed Take Off, introduced high school students to all facets of flying over the course of two Fridays last winter.
Take Off won the honor of most creative new program from the Minnesota Community Education Association.
“Take Off was just something I’d never heard of…that one just blew me away,” said Michelle Peacock, awards committee chairperson for MCEA.
It was the brainchild of Mike Ferrari, member of EAA 1128, who went to THHS principal Brett Archer to discuss his idea. Ferrari invited Archer to an EAA meeting and after much discussion, the tentative shape of the program emerged. The first day would be at the high school and include mostly discussion and aviation-related presentations. The second day, the students would take a flight-focused field trip.
Ultimately, over fifteen students attended the two-day program, highlights of which included a tour a Cirrus aircraft, a look at airplane prototypes, visiting an air traffic control tower and—of course—trying their hands at the flight simulator.
“They were pretty excited about it,” Busch said.
Based on the enthusiasm of the participants, the EEA has deemed the program a success and they’re planning a new program in which students will build an airplane. The EAA members are going to develop a kit so students can build a U-Control plane—a model aircraft controlled by a pair of lines and powered by a methanol and castor oil fueled engine.
Busch was introduced to U-Control planes while in the Navy. He and his friends passed the time flying the small aircraft. “We had more fun than a barrel of monkeys,” he said. In addition to fun, the EEA wants to encourage students to consider options for education and training beyond the community education setting.
Busch said he hopes the program will ignite an interest in aviation for the students. Retiring baby boomers will leave a void in pilot and engineer positions in the next decade and there are currently not enough bodies to fill that void.
“We need to get the youth involved,” he said.
Busch added that the chapter hopes to offer the new airplane-building program sometime this year.
Anyone interested in EAA or any of its programs is welcome to attend a meeting. The group meets the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at THHS.
Summerblue Arts Camp was also honored by the MCEA this year. Lon Church directs Summerblue on a 40-acre site north of Two Harbors. The camp has been sponsored by community education for the past 16 years and won the MCEA outstanding project award. Only six of these awards are presented throughout the state.
“Just the longevity of the program is outstanding,” said Chris Olafson Langenbrunner, community education director.
Lake Superior School District Community Education is proud of its award winning programs, but Summerblue and Take Off are just two of the many programs offered for county residents of all ages. It’s “cradle to grave education,” Olafson Langenbrunner said.
“(Community education) is all about lifelong learning,” she added.
Look for community education opportunities in its publication, “Good News for Good Schools”, which is mailed to most residents in the school district. Class schedules are also available at www.isd381.k12.mn.us/CommunityEd/html or by calling the Community Education office at 834-8201 ext. 8230 or 226-4437 ext. 8137.