By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
The rains didn’t arrive but the kids did on the 7th annual Kids Day hosted by Calhoun Air Center on May 8. The field trip was attended by approximately 350 sixth-grade students from local schools.
“The Calhoun Air Center has proudly continued to host this event which educates and excites the kids who attend it each year,” said Calhoun County Airport Manager Dianna Stanger. “It is my very favorite day of the year when I have the opportunity to see so many eager faces learn about aviation. We can’t believe it’s been seven years that we’ve hosted the event — making it more than 2,450 students that have visited the airport since 2009.”
There were a number of pilots with different aircraft present set up as individual stations. Each station taught the students subjects such as: the differences between an airplane and helicopter, emergency air flights, fuel management, aerodynamics, wind components, wind velocity and aircraft parts.
The pilots and aircraft included: Dianna Stanger, airport manager with a Eurocopter EC120; Steve Plunkett, fixed base operator (FBO) manager with a Beechcraft Premier jet, David Hahn, local farmer with a Maule and Larry Robinson, local pilot with a Cirrus SR22.
The Calhoun County Fire Department, EMS and U.S. Coast Guard were also in attendance. PHI, Inc. sponsored a snow cone station and the students were delighted to cool down while walking around on the warm tarmac. There were special guest appearances by PHI Inc. with their Eurocopter EC135, John Sterling with an Air Tractor, and the U.S. Coast Guard performed training tactics on the runway.
“What looked to be an inclement rainy day turned into a day of learning about aviation for everyone involved,” said Calhoun Air Center Public Relations Manager Jasmine Gordon. “The look on their faces says it all!”
The Calhoun Air Center also actively promotes the National Aviation Art Contest and each year they submit hundreds of entries.
“It’s amazing to see our local aviation community come together to show the students how great aviation can be,” said Steve Plunkett, FBO manager. “We all look forward to this day each year.”