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Job Shadow Students Take a Flight at Gillespie Air Field



When it comes to careers, I remember being told – the sky is the limit! In the past, I would've been happy with that answer, but after last Friday I'm wondering, how can I measure that limit? How hot is it? What's the best pressure ratio? What composite works in it? No, I haven't turned into a mad scientist, BUT I and 50 other people are now mad about science.... AND math AND technology AND engineering AND AVIATION!

I learned that all these subjects are used a lot when you think of the sky.  So did about 50 students from Point Loma High School's AVID program. We all got to visit the Gillespie Air Field in El Cajon, and with the help of volunteers from AIR GROUP ONE, we had an experience of a lifetime!

With 10 volunteers leading various sessions, PLHS students learned about careers in aviation from pilots, engineers, scientists and even photographers. The San Diego Aerospace Museum at Gillespie Air Field, with planes ranging from PT-22s to helicopters set the stage for understanding the role materials played in flight.

We got to flex our muscles lifting a single “lightweight” blade from a plane engine and realized that just one engine weighed more than 2 tons! And when you put the total weight of a plane together – with no passengers and no fuel – you're looking at roughly 45 tons! After absorbing that piece of information, one of the students asked “How in the world do we get planes to go in the air?” Even when you understand the physics behind it, it's still mind boggling.

After the juniors and seniors got to ask and answer questions about plane design, thinking of such things as top and bottom pressures on the plane wings, the students had the best treat of the day – they got to FLY!

With a seasoned pilot on the helm, the teenagers, in groups of three, climbed into a few three-passenger aircrafts for a leisurely flight through the San Diego horizon and a few of them got to experience the joy of driving the aircraft. From the pictures, you can't even tell that this is their first experience in a plane.

What I love most about Junior Achievement's Job Shadow is that the kids who experience the program get to re-invent their definition of the "sky" and its limits. Whether it's a new field in STEM or a sector in banking, our students are exposed to areas they never knew existed and their view of the world will forever change because of it.

With support from our JA family, over 2,000 students will experience these wonderful eye-opening opportunities this school year. Will you join us in our quest to unlock even more adventures for our middle and high school students in the Fall?


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POSTED MAY 3,2013