Students learn aviation from ground up
at ITD's annual ACE Academy
Youths from throughout Idaho and one from Singapore had an opportunity to explore aviation from the ground up… and from the clouds down this week during the annual Aviation Career Exploration (ACE) Academy in Boise.
The annual four-day camp enables junior high and high school youths a chance to talk with aviation experts and experience various facets of flight, beginning with a demonstration burn to a tour of the Warhawk Air Museum.
The 2009 ACE academy attracted 20 students, most of whom are from the Treasure Valley. Participants also came from Bonners Ferry, Sand Point, Post Falls, Dubois, and Singapore. The latter comes by way of the Mountain Home Air Force Base where his father is stationed.
Following a welcome at the Idaho Division of Aeronautics, participants toured the airport fire station and watched a demonstration burn. They followed with a tour of Western Aircraft, Jetstream Aviation and the Boise Airport, airfield and tower.
Tuesday’s agenda include an all-morning tour of the Mountain Home Air Force Base, an afternoon visit at the Jackson Jet Center and a seminar on the basics of aerodynamics by Mike Pape, an ITD pilot and flight operations director.
Tours continued Wednesday when students visited the National Interagency Fire Center located near the Boise Airport, a presentation by Korean War veteran and prisoner of war Don Pape, a tour of the Idaho Army/Air National Guard and an afternoon career forum.
The academy got off the ground – literally – on Thursday when students boarded private aircraft for navigational flights to several regional airstrips, including Smith Prairie, Idaho City and Garden Valley. Pilots from a number of Treasure Valley aviation clubs volunteered their aircraft and donated fuel to take students on a flight to demonstrate firsthand navigation and operation of small aircraft.
Students also toured the Warhawk Air Museum, had lunch provided by Mission Aviation Fellowship and visited Holbrook Maslin, Silverhawk Aviation and concluded with a picnic sponsored by the Idaho Aviation Association.
“It’s gratifying to watch the kids expand their knowledge of aeronautics. Some of them begin the academy not knowing what to expect and maybe even are a little intimidated,” explains Frank Lester, ITD’s Safety/Education Coordinator and academy organizer.
“Their comfort level increases steadily through the week. By the final day, they understand the variety of options available to them, and some end up considering aviation as a career.”
Most of the Division of Aeronautics staff was involved in some capacity in making the 2009 event one of the most successful.
“I want to thank the staff for all of their cooperation and hard work in putting on the academy. The academy took a lot of work and coordination, and we couldn’t have done it without a group effort.