How to inspire kids 101

Someone on Twitter posted this:

For our non-dutch reading brethren, here’s the quick and dirty:

Years ago as a small kid Jasper knew everything about all the aircraft, doing kit builds, and designing his own. He send two of his designs to the local company, Fokker.

The leading constructor of the F-28 and F-100 types then send back a serious critique and a series of tips and instructions to improve his designs. This has led Jasper into a engineering career, starting at the Technical University Delft.

So, when a kid sends you a letter, a tweet, a question, whatever, treat them with respect, you get back what you put into it!

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I make it a point to wave at the kids that are playing at the many airport playgrounds we often taxi past. PDK and GMU airports near us have great little playgrounds. If there are kids in the FBO or outside the fence and I have time, I love letting them sit in the pilot’s seat and maybe stoke that interest.

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That’s the good work!

I did a lot of flightsim conventions where the public could visit, it is usually held in an aviation museum, and I would always put anyone that showed the slightest interest behind a computer and let them have a go. Some kids were so captivated by it. One had a little girl, couldn’t have been older then 8 or maybe 10 years old fly above The Netherlands 2000 scenery for a good 30 minutes, and flying damn well at it too! I do hope some of those kids got inspired to go fly real life!

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Every so often we have one of our planes on static display at airshows or at events. They do a Runway 5K at my home airport (Charlotte, NC) and we try to get a plane over and sit with it for a few hours during the event. We print up MedCenter Air coloring books for the kids, have buckets with candy, and let the kids check out the inside of the airplane. The adults love it just as much of course. And one of our female pilots absolutely is over the moon anytime she finds a young girl that takes an interest in aviation.

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I WANT TO MARK THIS AS A SOLUTION!

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Hmm… White plane, bucket of candy, kids… Not suspicious at all

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That’s awesome!
I wish Fokker still existed… Something about their history and their approach to aircraft design that I find really interesting. I started out as an FO on the F50. Remarkable aircraft. Way ahead of it’s contemporaries, in many ways. When I transited to the DHC8 I remember thinking ”Seriously?” on several occasions, when studying the systems.
The Integrated Alerting Unit, for one… It will just give you the engine and fire related warnings until takeoff is complete. Then the less important ones will show. On the DHC8 it will throw a master warning in your face, because the oilpressure is low…when starting the engine…! :roll_eyes:

Fun story.
When I did my skill test on the F50 I had a CAA examiner from another airline that operated the 50. My airline and the other one used eachothers examiners for skill tests.
Anyway, during the briefing he asked me to tell him what I knew about the IAU. I gave him what little I could remember, which wasn’t a lot.
He looked at me, turned to the white board and started to explain the whole system, in incredible detail. I deflated completely and thought I had flunked the test without even getting into the sim… When he was finished, he said ”Well, I have some inside knowledge since I worked with Fokker on the cockpit design” and then he smiled… ”Fukker”, I thought to myself. :wink:

Anyway, let’s get back to topic. Inspiring kids, right? I used to be one. A kid, being inspired, that is. I have always loved aviation, for as long as I can remember.
My thoughts on this: Kids dream. Let them! Fuel their dreams. To get through school, and life in general, we need inspiration. There’s no inspiration like following your dreams…
Every now and then our cabin attendant ask us if we’ll accept a visitor to the flightdeck. We’re only allowed to do so when parked, which usually is a busy time. But I always say yes to kids. Sometimes I just say hi and explain that we have a lot to do at the moment, but please just stand there and find three things you want to know more about, and I’ll answer your questions when we’re finished.
It takes me 30 seconds… Time well spent, I think.

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Haha…that brought back memories of my CFI checkride with the FAA designee. He was this old dude that chain smoked cigarettes from the second I walked in the door, throughout the oral, checkride, and post-flight. My task was to instruct him on the intricacies of static and dynamic aircraft stability on the chalkboard. I’m sure I absolutely looked like an idiot up there. I figured I failed too. To my great surprise, we went on to the practical part of the exam. I never felt less like someone knowledgeable as that 30 minutes when I was stammering in front of that man.

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Same here. I was probably unintentionally inspired by traveling with my parents as we followed my Dad around in his travels to different postings around the world. Getting to fly on a TWA 747 was a highlight. The first real impression though was watching a U-2 takeoff from Osan AFB in Korea. It was awesome. Started building aircraft models shortly thereafter…and then discovered flight sims at the age of about 12…

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I know a few of our pilots at Chino are volunteers in the Young Eagles program.

Wheels

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I adore doing that, too. There’s also an airfield with a home near it chock full of kids. If I’m alone and they’re out there? I love turning over it in the pattern for departure at attitudes usually not recommended for that.

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