Flight Test Museum youth education cleared for summer takeoffs

by Larry Grooms, special to Aerotech News
With lifting of the COVID-19 overcast, the Aerospace Valley’s Flight Test Museum Foundation is relaunching its free Junior Test Pilot Summer Program at Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale; partnering with Edwards Air Force Base to offer summer on-base math studies for incoming high school students; and scheduling dates with Palmdale and Eastside School Districts and AV Uplift to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs across the region.

Lisa Brown, Flight Test Historical Museum Director of Education, provided the updated information in response to an Aerotech News and Review inquiry on May 11.

There are two separate summer programs scheduled at Blackbird Airpark. In-person sessions will be held from 9 a.m. until noon, Mondays through Thursdays from June 17 through July 29.

Additional online only programs will resume with once weekly modular Monday sessions to get children started in the Junior Test Pilot program. She said the program is intended for 3rd to 6th graders, but any students interested in aerospace, flight test, engineering, or airplanes are encouraged to attend online learning modules and live events. Those sessions will be offered in three different groups meeting at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon.

Brown said a potential remaining roadblock to full educational activities at the Blackbird learning center’s portable classrooms is continuing closure of the adjacent Joe Davies Airpark. She explained that curriculum for students using the Blackbird location relies on access to aircraft on exhibit in the directly connected city-operated park.

Brown said the foundation is prepared to host three live summer sessions in Palmdale, with live sessions offered on Mondays at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and Noon.

Junior Test Pilots go on a series of learning missions to explore and find out how to analyze different aspects of STEM principles in aerospace engineering, interact with fellow learners and guides in online discussion forums and Google Hangouts, participate in online interactive activities, and have opportunities to learn about the variety of careers in aerospace.

Brown said the partnership with the Edwards AFB education office will be of direct benefit to children attending on-base schools operated by Kern County’s Muroc Unified School District.

As Director of Education for the private non-profit 501(c)(3) Flight Test Museum Foundation, Brown is responsible for management and course design for the museum’s online Junior Test Pilot School, Flight Test Museum Curriculum and STEM Outreach. She is a Life Patron of the Foundation.

The Junior Test Pilot Program logo. (Courtesy image)

She holds a Master of Science in Education degree in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University and is a doctoral candidate in Career and Workforce Education & Distance Learning at the University of South Florida.

On May 5, Art Thompson, chairman of the executive board of the Flight Test Museum Foundation, announced the foundation’s claim to receive an estimated $1.2 million in remaining assets from the closed AERO Institute in Palmdale. He stated that the foundation is immediately qualified and positioned to meet and exceed roles previously tasked to AERO Institute.

With the sought-after court-ordered dispersal of funds, the foundation expects to quickly erect the walls and roof of the regional aerospace history museum, archival repository, library and conference center projected to attract a regional economic impact from more than 100,000 visitors a year with direct access.

Information on advance registration will be announced. Watch the website for public registration updates at https://www.afftcmuseum.org/.

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