ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Thanks to an aviation lab for sixth- through ninth-graders, 20 students from the South Metro Denver area are getting up-close-and-personal with the world of flight this week at Centennial Airport.
The lab is a joint venture by Independence Aviation (IA), a flight school/flight services company based in Centennial Airport, and STEM Ventures, a for-profit corporation that provides Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for K-12 students. STEM is based in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
“At IA we understand the importance of exposing young people to aviation as a potential career or avocation,” said IA President Robert L. “Bob” Stedman. “STEM’s creative curriculum and orientation coincides perfectly with this goal and we’re delighted to be a part of this important undertaking.”
Highlights of the week include a tour of an aviation maintenance facility, a tour of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Aerospace Department, and taking the controls of simulated flights in IA’s FRASCA Cirrus SR22 Level 1 Flight Training Device. The week will end with one lucky student being chosen at random to win a significantly discounted flight lesson in a Cirrus SR20 aircraft with one of IA’s flight instructors.
Enrollment for the program reached capacity within one hour of being announced to the families of eligible STEM students. Instructors for the event are FAA certificated pilots who are also experienced aviation educators. They include pilots who fly for the EAA Young Eagles program, members of the Civil Air Patrol, retired U.S. Air Force pilots, and other STEM Venture stakeholders who fly for the sheer joy of flight.
The lab is the result of a grant awarded to STEM Ventures earlier this year by Wolf Aviation Fund (WAF). WAF’s mission is to help individuals work together in support of general aviation. Members of the Civil Air Patrol Black Sheep Squadron were pivotal in writing the grant.
“We are delighted to have Independence Aviation’s commitment to furthering the STEM educational concept through their participation and sponsorship of the aviation lab this summer. We hope this leads to more classes and broader offerings in the future,” said Judy Brannberg, Executive Director and Program Manager of STEM Ventures.
Independence Aviation (IA) provides aircraft rentals, aviation instruction and pilot mentoring programs, plus aircraft and hangar management.