Thursday, November 20, 2014

Central Kitsap Junior High students buzz over to Apex Airpark (8W5) for lesson

CK Junior High students stand near a Van's Aircraft RV-8 kit plane as pilot Scott Woodbury talks about aviation during a field trip to Apex Airpark on Nov. 12. From left is Madisyn Smith, Madeline Mills, Marielle Arnold, Kira Ashmore, Olivia Lewis, Claire Freund, Andrew Naumann, Josh Minter and Scott Woodbury. 
— image credit: Chris Tucker

Central Kitsap Junior High students were treated to an up-close lesson in aviation last week. 

Fifty students in the Aviation Classroom Experience program viewed several homebuilt aircraft being assembled, spoke with pilots and watched a little stunt flying during a field trip to Silverdale's tiny Apex Airpark on Nov. 12.

The students broke into groups and rotated through six different sites at the airpark. The sites featured pilot Bill Swope and his helicopter kit, Ian McFall's Van's Aircraft RV-10 airplane, which is under construction, Dan Barry's rebuilt 1943 army Aeronca L-3, Scott Woodbury's Van's RV-8 project, Roger Bailey's Grumman Tiger, which is updated with a "glass" electronic instrument panel, and Jeff Fraisure's turbine engine-powered plane.

At Woodbury's stop, students checked out the unpainted, partially-completed fuselage of a Van's RV-8 homebuilt airplane that Woodbury was assembling.

The blue-and-silver fuselage sat atop wooden blocks inside the workshop. Unfinished wings were set a few feet away from the fuselage, open at the end and revealing the inner structure of ribs and spars.

Woodbury, a former Marine Corps helicopter pilot who has flown for 40 years in numerous roles from logging to firefighting, showed the students an array of tools spread out on a table. A plane like the RV-8 consisted of a thousand small, simple pieces, he said.

"It goes together with cunning and little rivets," Woodbury said of the two-seater craft.

"It's a time-consuming labor of love, really," he said.

It is the first time the class has made a field trip to the airpark said Mark Anderson, teacher for the ACE class. Anderson said the class used aviation to teach students about science, technology, engineering and math.

"Specifically, the idea is to get kids excited about flight," Anderson said.

Students learn about the parts of an airplane, about lift, airfoils, angle-of-attack, the three axes that aircraft rotate on, air traffic control and more. The students use math to calculate the amount of fuel needed for a certain flight.

The ACE class is funded by a $2.5 million Department of Defense Education Activity grant. The grant paid for several Microsoft Flight Simulator programs along with displays and controls for the simulators for four schools including CKJH, Fairview Junior High, Ridgetop Junior High and Klahowya Secondary.

Anderson said both he and his students loved the class.

"It puts so much meaning into stuff that typically kids don't care about," such as mathematics and concepts like latitude and longitude, he said.

"But they do now because they're learning how to fly, and fly (in a simulator) around a globe that spins underneath them when they leave the earth ... kids just seem to gobble it up when it's in this context.

"There is a mixture of lessons involved in the entire course. There are some that have been created by the instructors, and some that are loaded in Microsoft Flight Simulator X."

At the end of their visit one of the pilots took off in front of the students.

"He did a couple of stunts right there above our head," Anderson said.

"All the kids had their cellphones out and they were filming it. It was good stuff."

Anderson hopes to make a return trip, with more students, to the airpark in the spring.

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