Up, up and away

Third- and fourth-graders from Minot and area schools gathered in front of the Wright Flyer in the Dakota Territory Air Museum to hear famous aviators the Wright Brothers Orville and Wilbur tell about inventing the first airplane and its first flight.

Glenn Blackaby, museum curator, and Curt Saari played the two famous aviators.

Later, at the museum’s mezzanine, Amelia Earhart, played by Markita Pietsch, told the students about herself as the famous aviation pioneer and being the first female to fly solo around the world.

About 24 third- and fourth-graders took part in the ACE program on Saturday morning. ACE stands for Aviation Camp Experience.

Earlier the group met in the new Flying Legends Wing where they were divided into several groups to go to stations such as science, preflight/plan and aviation careers.

“Kids get to see all the things a pilot does before takeoff and instruments,” said air museum education coordinator Melessa Bosch, referring to the preflight/plan station.

At the science stations, there were demonstrations on the four forces of flight: thrust, wait, drag and lift. At the career station, the students learned about different jobs in aviation.

Guided by about 20 actual pilots and aviator mentors, the ACE program introduces third- and fourth-graders to general aviation concepts through hands-on learning activities. They get an upclose look at historical military and general aviation aircraft. There’s also a museum scavenger hunt.

Collin Espeseth, a third-grader at TGU-Granville, said of the camp, “It’s nice.” He said his main interest in attending the camp is “the planes” and even one day he might like to be a pilot.

Jamie Wells, a fourth-grader at Lewis and Clark Elementary School in Minot, said, “It’s fun.” She said she wanted to learn about planes.

The ACE program and another program, Passport Aviation Camp Experience, or PACE, are held once a month on Saturdays from February through June, according to Michelle Saari, air museum board member, and Bosch.

The PACE program focuses on one aviation topic each Saturday session. Saturday’s session was on the history of aviation. Other sessions will be on miliary aviation, weather and navigation and careers in aviation.

A student who attends all five PACE Saturdays will earn enough stamps on their personalized museum Passport for a ride in an aircraft in July.

The ACE program is free for third- and fourth graders. The PACE program costs $20.

The programs are being done with the support of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, Texas Flying Legends Museum, Dakota Territory Air Museum and Minot Air Force Base personnel.

For more information about the programs call Michelle Saari at 833-8658 or email saari@srt.com.