The TriStar Experience L-1011. A STEM experience like no other awaits.
8:30 AM, it’s a frigid spring morning. Three yellow school buses pull up to the curb of Kansas City International Airport’s Terminal A. This isn’t a rare sight; local schools often send sport and academic teams on trips to compete. But this day is different. The buses, filled to capacity with girls age 10-13, come to a stop outside a shuttered airport terminal which for years has not seen passenger traffic. These young minds would indeed be boarding a plane for a multi-hour experience, but the goal was not to travel. Instead, today’s visit to the airport is to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) through hands-on experiences aboard an ultra-rare, airworthy L-1011 wide-body aircraft.
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The plane, which last served as a mobile hospital, arrived in Kansas City, MO last year thanks to TriStar Experience, a local non-profit. The organization seeks out rare planes, with the goal of inspiring the next generation to seek STEM and aviation careers. Readers may recall this is the same organization which rescued and restored TWA’s Wings of Pride plane which is currently on display in partnership with the TWA Museum at the Downtown Kansas City Airport.
Inside the airplane-hospital turned STEM lab. Amazingly roomy!
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Two brand-new 737-900ERs were completely open for tours, including the cockpits. The jet in the foreground was two weeks old and still had that wonderful new-airplane smell.
“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.
Raisbeck Aviation High School student Rachel Phuon takes excellent aim with a balsa-wood airplane.
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.