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First-class program draws record crowd
to aviation festival

The 12th annual Idaho Aviation Festival (March 11-13) began on a high note as more than 275 pilots from as far away as Montana and Oregon gathered in Boise for a Thursday night Pilot Town Meeting with Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) President Phil Boyer.

Boyer provided the near-capacity crowd an up-to-date assessment of issues impacting general aviation. A question and answer period followed the formal presentation.

The weekend offered aviators and spectators a broad range of topics. Everything from winter survival to mountain and canyon flying and a ride in the Spatial Disorientation Simulator filled the weekend activities.

Attendees were treated to the latest in digital technology and flight simulators at a trade show that featured 35 vendors and aviation organizations.

Author Bruce McAllister took participants deep into aviation history through a tour of the air mail service and a photographic presentation of history “Wings Across America.” Maj. Gen. John Kane, Adjutant General of Idaho, was the keynote speaker at the festival’s kickoff luncheon. He shared insights about the Middle East and the forces that have shaped the world since Sept. 11, 2001, and talked about homeland security issues.

Teachers learn aviation lessons
Hunched over a table, rulers in hand, teachers participating in a two-day workshop were challenged to locate mountain lakes on an aeronautical chart. It might sound simple enough, but the names of the lakes were not provided. Instead, these teachers-turned-students were given a geographic address – 42 degrees 16 minutes, N and 113 degrees 45 minutes W.

The activity illustrated how teachers can incorporate an aviation tool into lessons involving math, measurements and geography. Education standards require that students demonstrate an understanding of units and processes of measurement, and can use the techniques and tools to demonstrate those principles.

“Lay out a course from one city to another, create a flight plan,” said workshop leader Richard Klein.

“You can use all these in the classroom. If you can show your children (latitude and longitude) on these charts, they can use these skills on the standardized tests.”

North Freemont High technical education teacher Mel Mikkola, Ashton, took away ideas for immediate application in the classroom.

“This is exactly what I needed to advance my curriculum and create more interest,” Mikkola said. “It’s a lot more than I’d expected. Aviation lends itself to application in multiple subjects, including math, history and physics,” he said.

Aviation pioneer’s speech concludes successful festival
Record-breaking pilot and aviation pioneer Dick Rutan took part in the teacher workshop and was the keynote speaker at the closing banquet.

During the workshop, Rutan spoke to young Nicholas Buckley about “following his dreams” and the importance of science and math in school. He also talked to educators about the importance of shaping their students' futures.

A record crowd of more than 250 attended the festival’s closing banquet. Rutan captured the audience’s attention when he recognized three budding artists who won an Aviation Art Contest among 6- to 9-year-olds.

He reminisced about how he and fellow crewmember, Jeanna Yeager, were the first to complete a nonstop flight around the world in an airplane without refueling. Their aircraft, Voyager, now hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's “Milestones of Flight” gallery in Washington, D.C.