WEST CHICAGO, Illinois — With a new school year about to take flight, DuPage Airport (KDPA) and the City of West Chicago invited students and their families to the tarmac Aug. 8, 2019, for the Third Annual Back to School Celebration.
The event introduced students to the world of aviation with a behind-the-scenes look at one of the region’s busiest general aviation airports.
“Back to School provides the perfect opportunity to connect the younger generation to the exciting world of aviation,” said Stephen Davis, chairman of the DuPage Airport Authority and founder of Tuskegee NEXT, a pilot training program for at-risk youth. “The industry needs pilots, mechanics, engineers, and air traffic controllers, so there’s no shortage of impactful and rewarding career paths. We hope that after visiting our facility students from West Chicago and beyond are motivated to continue exploring all the industry has to offer.”
The roughly 1,500 attendees were able to sit in the cockpit of planes, tour classic and military aircraft, check out the WGN-TV Skycam helicopter, visit with local aviation academies, explore large airport snow removal equipment, and test their pilot skills with the Civil Air Patrol Fox Valley Squadron flight simulators.
Additionally, event partners, including the West Chicago Fire Protection District, West Chicago Police Department, Boy Scouts Three Fires Council, Red Cross and Healthy West Chicago, were on site to host exhibits.
Students also interacted with pilots and other aviation professionals and learned about what drew them to a career in the skies.
Admission to the event was free, and all attendees received free lunch and refreshments.