Children and airplanes

Some amusing and memorable moments from Wednesday’s home school group tour of our College of Missionary Aviation aircraft and hangar (Keystone Heights):

– Kids like funny noises and flashing lights.  When I had a home school student volunteer to lift up on the stall warning tab on the airplane wing, I would ask them what was the purpose of the loud horn they heard. I explained that when you’re in the air and overtaking a slower airplane, you honk the airplane horn to get them to pull over so you can pass. (Parents seemed to laugh harder than the kids at that one).

I’d turn on the wing tip lights and strobes and ask them what the color was (red).  Then I’d tell them to go to the opposite wing and see what the color was (green). They were all excited as they ran en mass from one wing tip to the other. We’d talk about the meaning of the color location and compare it to boating (which most were more familiar with). “Red right, returning.”

– I’d demonstrate the aircraft control surfaces. They seemed to get a kick out of the fact that if I pushed down on the right aileron that the left aileron would come up automatically (linked together).  Great fun.

– We talked about some fancy pilot stuff (depending upon their age), like the use of the yoke or stick: Push down, trees get bigger, pull back and the trees get smaller. Giggles all around.

– I asked one particularly bright 11 year old named David, how much colder it would be on this warm 85 degree Florida day if we got in the plane and climbed to 5,000 feet of altitude.  You could see the gears turning in his brain and his eyes brightened as he answered, even knowing the conversion factor of going from Centigrade to Fahrenheit.  We were all very impressed. The same bright young man never ceased talking or asking questions.  I had to talk over him so the rest of the kids could hear me. I glanced at his mom and mouthed “ADD?”.  She smiled and said, “ADHD.”  Future talk show host or astrophysicist?  Or missionary pilot?

– I asked one young boy if he liked flying. An apparent sibling laughed and said that his brother ran around his yard at home flapping his arms like a bird. I told them that I used to do that with little success.  (As a 10 year old in case you’re wondering. Only rarely as an adult.)  I imagine the neighbors said, “There goes that crazy Currie kid again!”  Knowing better, I also told the young ones that I tried to fly by jumping off the roof of our garage. I did use an open umbrella (just in case) to break the fall. Not much success there either. I admonished them not to try that at home.  Sorry, parents.  A cautionary tale.

– As I was preparing to get ready to fly back to Jax, one young teen ran up to me and asked for a selfie picture as his parents waited in their car. A picture of me and him by the plane.  He was grinning ear to ear.  Made my day!

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