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.


 
 

 
IronMan_pict

Special Operations develops ‘Iron Man’ Suit

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit is cool. But it’s not real. The Tactical Assault Light Operators Suit is cool, too. But it is real and may soon be protecting America’s special operations forces...
 
 

Financial responsibility — vital to readiness

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — In the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, there is a line in the movie where the soldiers are told to make sure they sign up for life insurance to ensure their next-of-kin gets $10,000 upon the soldier’s death. While none of us are about to make a combat jump in 1944 to...
 
 

Lessons learned in protecting social media accounts

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — On a Saturday afternoon in late November, I was informed about a political remark that appeared on my Director of Public Affairs Twitter feed. A staff member called to ask if I was aware of the re-tweet. At the time, I was on leave, out of the state, tending to my daughter...
 

 

Adapt, overcome, succeed

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Change is inevitable, especially in today’s Air Force. If you’ve been serving for more than a few years, it’s likely you’ve experienced everything from new physical fitness requirements to the implementation of force management programs. Enlisted performance reports and feedback forms have been altered and changes to the promotion system are...
 
 

Living in the New Normal

The Military Child Education Coalition, or MCEC, will be hosting Living in the New Normal Institute, Feb. 4-5. LINN-I is a free two-day institute outlining specific community resources, deployment information and practical strategies for encouraging resilience in all children. Some learning outcomes to expect from the training are differentiating affective aspects of children dealing with...
 
 
Training_pict4

Air Force, Army conduct joint service training

U.S. Air Force and Arizona Army National Guard units conducted joint training at a southern Arizona military training range Jan. 20. A-10C Thunderbolt IIs from the 354th Fighter Squadron, based out of D-M, and a UH-60A Black Ha...
 




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