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EAA volunteers share day with FCHS STEM students

The Experimental Aircraft Association Apalachicola Chapter 1646 hosted an Aviation Field Day at the Apalachicola Regional Airport on March 1 for two dozen students from the Franklin County High School Science Technology Engineering and Math program as an introduction to aviation and the possibilities available at the gem of an airport that Franklin County has to offer. 

The members of the chapter volunteered their knowledge and time to provide an outlook at the opportunities available for the future of the students in the world of aviation, including pilot, Airframe & PowerPlant mechanics (A&P), airport operations and management, and other activities associated with the world of aviation. 

EAA volunteers included Bruce Graham, Paul Colonna, John Mays, Tom Mescher, Ed Metcalf, Ted Mosteller, Michael Rindler, Brian Schoonmaker, Phil Shelley, John Weaver, Chance White, Austin & Trish Williams, and Richard Woodward

Centric staff Jim Herring and Stan Orinko offered hands-on demos while reps from the Unmanned Safety Institute displayed drone flights. Orinko, local Centric Aviation manager, gave an excellent demonstration on airport management and provided facilities for the event. 

Aircraft displays included a Cirrus SR22T, Cirrus flight simulator, Carrabelle Flying Club Cessna 172, Mooney M20-F, Tecnam P2008, Cessna R182, Tucano Replica, Experimental Aircraft, Cessna 150, Luscombe and Fuji LM-1.

The Apalachicola Fire Department also brought a fire truck and ambulance and gave students an excellent overview of emergency services to the airport. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and industry associations estimate that there will be a requirement for an additional 20,000 to 25,000 pilots in the coming two to three years, as well as new aircraft and the mechanics and manufacturing capability to fill the need to support passenger and freight movement requirements. 

The STEM students will be able to see and appreciate eight different types and models of aircraft, fire and rescue vehicles, flight simulators, and the local airport services and systems. Local airport, drone and remote controlled pilots and mechanics, with various levels of experience and backgrounds available for discussion with the students.

The EAA also has been providing introductory flights for local students through the “Young Eagle” flights for ages 7 to 17, and for adults in the “Eagle Flight” program. Several local Franklin County residents have taken advantage of this opportunity to discover the joys, and opportunities, of flight.

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