Salutes & Awards

May 29, 2014

Wright Flight more than about flying; student organization visits 162nd Wing

Tags:
Staff Sgt. Erich B. Smith
162nd Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Erich B. Smith)
Tech. Sgt. Orland Worcester, an aircrew flight equipment technician, helps a fourth-grader fully engage a four-line jettison, helping him steer to safety in a Parachute Simulator Virtual Realty Trainer. The fourth grader was a member of Wright Flight, a Tucson-based, non-profit organization that educates middle-school students about aviation, and provided that they meet certain academic requirements and personal goals, rewards them with flights in small-engine aircraft and visits to air base units like they did May 16 at the 162nd Wing.

On Dec. 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers made world history by putting together a wooden frame with some metal fittings and heavy cotton fabric, and giving it power to gain altitude for a controlled flight. It was an amazing feat, made possible with a can-do attitude and a drive to truly conquer new heights. It’s that same spirit that formed the basis for the tributary Wright Flight, a Tucson-based, non-profit organization that educates middle-school students about aviation, and provided that they meet certain academic requirements and personal goals, rewards them with flights in small-engine aircraft and visits to air base units like they did May 16 at the 162nd Wing. The day started in the flight simulators, followed by learning life-support techniques when parachuting, visiting the engine shop, watching F-16 Fighting Falcons take off from a “Mobile” tower and touring the fire department. “I could tell that they were really engaged and genuinely interested in what we do here,” said Tech. Sgt. Orland Worcester, who took a break from his duties as an aircrew flight equipment technician to show future air aces the details of a cockpit trainer and steering techniques on a Parachute Simulator VRT (Virtual Reality Trainer).

Wright Flight is the brainchild of retired Lt. Col. Robin Stoddard – a former fighter pilot who flew for all three Air Force Components in four different aircraft – who envisioned a program that inspired children to tap into personal excellence by becoming aviation enthusiasts. For Stoddard, justification for such a program was simple: “If you can take control of an airplane, you can take control of your life.” But enjoying the privilege of experiencing the work-life of an Airman comes with commitments, too. According to a memo from Jean Rhoades, a middle school teacher and coordinator for Wright Flight, student members “were required to set an academic goal for themselves. Next, the students committed to attending the Wright Flight history class which covered the milestones in aviation history and get at least an 85% on a final test. Finally, the students took a Drug Free pledge to say ‘no’ to drugs now and always.”

Though failure is never an option in military circles and the world of aviation, it doesn’t mean that second chances are not possible. “Just like the Wright Brothers, if students don’t succeed the first time, they may try to achieve their goals again,” said Rhoades. Now in its 28th year in Tucson, Wright Flight has chapters in 9 states, including where the brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright became household names – North Carolina. The ages of the children range from 9 to 11. Sponsorships, donations and volunteers help support the program, and according to retired Lt. Col. Robin Stoddard, the founder of Wright Flight, the organization is in the process of adding a donated Cessna 172 to its air inventory.

“I think the program really works because the reward is an experience, not a material item,” said Rachel Stoddard, a Wright Flight volunteer with a pilot certificate who experienced the program firsthand as a child-student. “Someone could steal their iPod, but not the fact they were in an F-16 simulator or flown in a Cessna 172.” For more information on Wright Flight, please visit its website at www.wrightflight.org




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

479 selected for top enlisted rank

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) —  Of the 2,525 senior master sergeants eligible for promotion to chief, 479 were selected for an 18.97 percent selection rate, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced Nov. 20. To see the selection list, go to the Air Force Portal, or myPers. Airmen will be able to access their...
 
 

Turkey Bowl

Senior Airman Philip Taylor, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Desert Lightning Team quarterback, dodges a Black Knights defensive player during the annual Turkey Bowl at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., Nov. 14. D-M’s Desert Lightning Team scored two touchdowns in the final 45 seconds leading them to win 18-7. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Desert Lightning Team members line...
 
 

Resolutions aren’t just for the new year

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — It’s almost that time of year when most of us will commit to reforming a habit, lifestyle or just change our lives for the better. It starts when we take a critical look at ourselves and determine what we can do, or stop doing, to make the improvements we desire. These...
 

 
DoD

AF tests first all-electric vehicle fleet in California

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Air Force officials unveiled the Department of Defense’s first non-tactical vehicle fleet composed entirely of plug-in electric vehicles, Nov. 14, at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. The rollout of the 42-vehicle fleet marks a milestone in the DOD’s demonstration of emerging technology and the vehicles will serve as a resource to...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Jarrod Grammel)

Maintaining fitness standards during the holidays is important

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — During the holidays, going to the gym usually isn’t on the top of most peoples’ priority list. Priority is given to visiting families, planning vacations, and most important, indulging in...
 
 

Exchange keeps the ‘Thanks’ in Thanksgiving

DALLAS – With a quarter of its work force comprised of military family members, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is a true example of family serving family. As such, the focus on Thanksgiving will be on family. “Exchange Main Stores in the Continental United States will be closed Thanksgiving, but open early Black...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin