Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine – April/May 2021 issue
OSHKOSH, WIS. – AeroEducate, the newest youth aviation initiative from the Experimental Aircraft Association, will bring an interactive, educational, and engaging experience to young people ages 5 to 18 years old beginning in 2021.
AeroEducate’s web-based resource provides clear, age-appropriate pathways to aviation and aerospace engagement, and even career paths. A multitude of turnkey, easy-to-use aviation-themed activities for teachers and EAA chapters can be used at sites ranging from classrooms to EAA chapter hangars.
“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.”
Among the elements of AeroEducate are:
• Badging Program – designed to motivate engagement and continued discovery.
• Career Pathways – demystifies the journey, regardless of area of aviation interest.
• Classroom Activities – aviation-infused 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 that include 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. Aviate, established to inspire and develop the next generation of talented and diverse United pilots, will effectively create a path from a Young Eagles flight to a profession as a commercial pilot. 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. 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.
“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.”
Development of AeroEducate programming will continue through the first half of 2021, with further updates and announcements also coming at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in late July.