“It’s all about the kids.”
Alaska Airlines pilot Allen Cassino’s succinct summation explains the singular focus displayed by the dozens of Alaska Air and aviation industry volunteers concerning showing 1,000 eager students the myriad career opportunities available in the aviation industry at Alaska Airlines’ eighth annual Aviation Day.
The May 21 event at Alaska’s Sea-Tac Airport maintenance hangar was extraordinarily well run, and everyone I met — really, I mean everyone — seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, whether they were sharing information or soaking it up.
The event was co-sponsored by the Boeing Company, the Port of Seattle, the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of Western Washington. Roughly 400 Boy Scouts earned their aviation and engineering merit badges during the event.
I honestly had to keep repeating to myself Cassino’s statement about the event being all about the kids, as this particular adult had a tough time trying to remain an observer and not queuing up for a turn in the sims (although I did get to scope out the view from left seat of a 737 cockpit).
That there would be excitement from the kids and the adult attendees is pretty much a given with an event like this. What was even more remarkable was the excitement and enthusiasm shown by the many Alaska Airlines and industry volunteers who put on the event.
I’ve been in the news business off and on since the early 1990s, and as a result have gotten a bit jaded, and half-expected to see a bunch of weary adults shepherding groups of quasi-bored kids from station to station.
It did my heart good to see the volunteers’ collective and genuine enthusiasm for showing these kids both a good time and giving them an accurate and enjoyable introduction to the various careers available in the aviation industry.
There were balsa-wood airplanes constantly floating around the hangar, an endless stream of laughter and shouts of “Hey! Come check this out! No, over here – you’ve gotta see this!”
The pilots on the flight decks and running the flight simulators all seemed delighted to explain the workings of aircraft systems to each and every visitor, flight attendants explained evacuation procedures, and mechanics quizzed curious students about the function of jet-engine compressors.
It was boisterous, loud, and an enormous amount of fun. Some additional photos to share the day’s story: