EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — AeroEducate, the newest youth aviation initiative from the Experimental Aircraft Association, will bring an interactive, educational experience to young people ages 5 to 18 beginning in 2021.
AeroEducate’s web-based resource provides age-appropriate pathways to aviation and aerospace engagement, as well as career paths, according to EAA officials. A multitude of easy-to-use aviation-themed activities for teachers and EAA chapters can be used at sites ranging from classrooms to EAA chapter hangars, officials add.
The best part? Everything is free for teachers and chapters across the country.
“What EAA has created with AeroEducate is a wide-ranging program where a child can reach specific goals in aviation that are achievable, affordable, and engaging,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board. “This is the ‘Next Step’ for direct youth aviation education that was pioneered by the EAA Young Eagles program in the 1990s. AeroEducate will encourage participation from young people, their parents, teachers, and EAA chapters in a way that builds interest in aviation from initial fun to possible career paths.”
Since its inception in 1992, the Young Eagles program has given free flights in general aviation aircraft to more than 2 million young people between the ages of 8 and 17.
Elements of the new AeroEducate program include:
- Badging Program: Designed to motivate engagement and continued discovery
- Career Pathways: Demystifies the journey, regardless of area of aviation interest
- Classroom Activities: Aviation-infused activities to help educators spark interest among youth
- Database of Youth Aviation Activities: Creating nationwide opportunities to participate.
As part of AeroEducate, EAA is partnering with aviation industry leaders to develop specific career pathways including professional pilot, air traffic controller, maintenance technician, engineering, and aviation business.
United Airlines’ Aviate program led the way in late 2020 by becoming the first industry partner in AeroEducate, EAA officials note. Aviate, established to inspire and develop the next generation of United pilots, will effectively create a path from a Young Eagles flight to a profession as a commercial pilot, EAA officials said. Additional industry partners will be announced as their participation is finalized.
EAA is developing educational components with North Carolina State University, encompassing an aviation focus that can be used in both traditional and non-traditional learning environments. That flexibility is especially useful as online and distance learning has become more prevalent over the past year, officials said.
The activities focus on STEM principles, and follow Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and technology and literacy standards. In addition, the teaching activities that are being developed for EAA AeroEducate are available at no charge and are easily adaptable to existing curricula, EAA officials said.
“AeroEducate aims to take that youthful discovery and fascination with flight into a positive direction that builds goals and fun for young people, as well as resources for their parents, teachers, and local mentors,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programming. “This initiative uses the best of aviation, education, and technology in a way that reaches kids where they are and where they want to go.”