AirSpace Minnesota and The Museum of Flight in Seattle have joined forces to create the first Museum of Flight Aviation Learning Center (ALC) outside of the museum.
Doug King, Museum of Flight president, and Dale Klapmeier, co-founder and CEO of Cirrus Aircraft and Board Chair of AirSpace Minnesota, made the announcement of the new initiative.
“The art and science of flight hold a unique power to spark imaginations,” said Klapmeier. “Young people need dreams that inspire confidence to master new skills and opportunities to see what’s possible for their futures. The Airspace Minnesota ALC provides a unique, proven mechanism to address that need. We are actively exploring potential sites in the Twin Cities and hope to be serving students throughout the region within the next two years.”
The Museum of Flight invested several years developing and testing the ALC, which opened in 2004. Using the Challenger Learning Center as a model, a team of 55 educators and experts created hands-on investigations in science, math, technology and reading that ask students to think critically, test hypotheses and solve problems.
The ALC includes a learning lab with computer-based workstations that present key concepts; a hangar where students develop a flight plan, chart a short flight and perform a pre-flight safety inspection of an actual Cirrus SR20 aircraft; and a simulation bay in which they use advanced software to virtually navigate their pre-planned route.
“We are completing an ALC technology upgrade, making this the perfect time to demonstrate its impact in a new environment,” said King. “From the beginning, our plan was to design an educational asset that could bring value to other communities. We believe it is ideal to do this for the first time in the home state of Cirrus, our educators’ aircraft of choice, with a new organization like AirSpace Minnesota which has a fresh outlook.”
The Museum of Flight serves more than 150,000 students each year with its programs. In the case of the ALC, outside science and curriculum experts evaluated each component and designed the workstations to serve the academic and developmental needs of upper elementary, middle school and high school students. Educators receive pre- and post-visit learning materials that tie the “day of” experience to state and national learning standards and the technology system provides a detailed assessment of how each student performed.
In addition to launching the new partnership, Klapmeier also announced that Cirrus would donate an SR22 airplane for the AirSpace Minnesota Aviation Learning Center. “We are delighted to help bring more STEM education and career resources to the region where our company is based.”