Erwin Loewen, one of our volunteer instructors, explaining the life of a bush pilot to students in the Education Program.

It was another busy year for our instructors teaching the Science of Flight Program to Grade Six students in the Edmonton area.

The program, which has been operating at the Alberta Aviation Museum for more than 15 years, saw more than 2,000 students take the course, with classes operating almost every day this year.

It was also a year of change to make it less of a lecture and more interaction on the floor, says Programs Coordinator Alysha Blakey.

“The instructors took it upon themselves to try out a myriad of lesson plans where sometimes they were on the floor for up to 80 to 90 per cent of the instruction time, which is really great,” says Blakey, who also spent about three days a week helping teach the course.

Alysha Blakey, AAM Programs Coordinator.

The museum also offered the program in half-day sessions for the first time.

“I am a big fan of that because it cuts the program cost in half. And we are constantly thinking about how this class can be more accessible to some schools that have less money for field trips. I think it’s a really great option.”

2018 also saw the the program offered partly in French, thanks to Blakey’s bilingual ability.

“At first I thought it was just going to be an Early Immersion class. But then we realized there were some students who had little to no understanding of English. So I stepped in and tried to offer my bilingual services. It seemed to go well and the teachers were quite appreciative.”

And more exciting changes are on the way for the coming school year. The museum has purchased eight new Redbird Jay flight simulators, with the help of a funding $35,000 donation from the Edmonton Aviation Heritage Society.

The exact program is being developed summer with the help of a team of student interns. But the simulators will give students a more hands-on, interactive experience.

The museum has purchased eight Redbird Jay flight simulators for the students to get a hands-on experience at flight.

“They’ll be applying their understanding of how you move aircraft in the air with the control surfaces and to complete a flight plan.”

Watch for more on the new program as we get into the 2017-2018 school year.

Special thanks go to our team of volunteer instructors. Rick McKown, Ron Robuliak, Erwin Loewen, Barry Bayley, Marlene Cameron-Innes and Val Seehagel.

Thanks also go out to David Comer and Stan Shank for pitching in to help with the tour part of the program.

For more on the Education Program, and some of the key volunteers behind it, read the story in the March-April edition of From the Hangar.