Friday, September 30, 2011

Ultralite Trike: Students excited as teacher glides in the sky . . . . Pilot Barbara Pelisek.

Barbara Pelisek, a teacher at Ridgeview Global Studies Academy in Davenport waves to fourth grade students as she executes a fly over of the school early Thursday morning. Pelisek is a licensed pilot and did the fly over to get fourth grade students inspired about their studies of aviator Amelia Earhart. Thursday, September 29, 2011
Paul Crate / News Chief

DAVENPORT - Barbara Pelisek's fourth grade class at Ridgeview Global Studies Academy probably never figured their teacher was the Amelia Earhart type but were they wowed Thursday morning.

They looked up at the sky about 8:30 a.m. to find their teacher flying her Ultralite Trike experimental aircraft right over their heads. The Trike is a type of powered hang glider.

"The kids were jumping up and down," Assistant Principal Robert Lovivio said. "They were so excited."

The children were not told of the plan until they were taken outside.

Briana Cotton, 9, was impressed.

"She flew the plane because we're reading 'Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride,'" she said.

All six fourth-grade classes are reading the fiction book and Pelisek, 56, wanted them to realize that both women did things that most women couldn't do in the 1930s.

"Amelia gives Eleanor a ride in her plane and Eleanor gives Amelia a ride in her car," Pelisek said Wednesday. "There were few women pilots than and even fewer women flying Trikes now."

Earhart was a pioneering female pilot, was the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, and she wrote many books. Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island in 1937. She was officially declared dead in 1939.

Keni German, 9, who is a new student at the school, thought her teacher was pretty neat.

"It's cool to know she flies a plane and it was cool looking at her do it," he said.

Natalia Melendez, 9, was Pelisek's cheerleader.

"I wish her good luck flying the plane and I hope she's having fun with it and never stops," Natalia said.

Abbigayle Bennett, 9, said she's inspired now to learn how to fly someday, perhaps when she goes to college.

Pelisek said she is originally from Iowa and when she and her husband moved to Florida, she was looking for a hobby and she found it in experimental aircraft.

The Haines City resident had to go to Zephyrhills for flying lessons, but eventually found a hangar for her Ultralight at the Lake Wales airport.

"I like flying low and slow about 1,500 to 2,000 feet," Pelisek said. "It will fly about 50 miles per hour."

Today they have a test on the book and Lovivio said he's betting there will be many perfect papers.

"It made the book much more interesting," Natalia concluded.

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