Chamblee, GA – August 10th, 2022 –The Georgia Air and Space ASPIRE Education Program announced the completion of another successful summer camp enabling area students to gain real experiences across a wide range of aviation-related careers. Now in its second year, the ASPIRE (Aerospace STEAM Program Inspiring through Real-world Experiences) camp brought together 30 professionals to share their experiences in aviation careers including Air Traffic Control, rescue support, aircraft engineer, meteorologist and many more.
“It’s a joy for me to combine my passion for aviation and education,” declared Latessa Meader, Director of the ASPIRE Aviation Summer Camp. “We’re helping students explore the forces of flight through hands-on physics experiments that demonstrate Bernoulli’s Law, and we’re working to build new foundations in math fundamentals, vocabulary development, and teamwork challenges—all through the ASPIRE curriculum.”
“But for me, the most inspiring part of this camp was not the information volunteers were sharing with the students, but the attentive in-depth questions campers were asking once they learned a bit about the basics of a certain career,” Meader continued. “The excitement exuding from the campers as they envisioned themselves in various careers was truly a sight to be seen.”
2022 ASPIRE Aviation Summer Camp Activities included:
- ASPIRE – Earthly Angels Curriculum—Learned the story about how many different people in a variety of careers work together to help someone in the community get to life-altering medical treatments.
- Angel Flight Soars—Met the people who tirelessly work to coordinate the funding, pilots, and logistics to get the patients where they need to go.
- PDK ATC Tower—Observed tower controllers in action as they directed traffic on the ground and in the air around the airport.
- Atlantic Aviation—General manager Paul Reynolds discussed the various jobs around an FBO (Fixed Base Operator), including refueling, greeting passengers, providing the resources for flight crew to plan for their flights, and arranging for rental cars if they need to get off of the airport property.
- Epps—Moreno Aguiari provided a walking tour of some historical locations including the old PDK ATC tower, hangars, and smoke stack in used in WWII. The campers also saw some maintenance facilities and a multitude of aircraft in the hangar.
- Hermeus—Engineers from this Mach 5 aircraft company provided an in-depth discussion on the functionality of turbine and ramjet engines, as well as how engineering is a series of trade-offs depending on requirements and constraints.
- Quikrete—Provided a tour of company business jets, where students interacted with two corporate pilots.
- Meteorologist—Meteorologist Kevin Olson shared the impact of weather on aviation including intense weather phenomenon like thunderstorms and hurricanes.
- Apache Attack Helicopter Commander—Retired Lt Col Lee Ambrose exemplified how teamwork contributes to success in highly complex, intense, and dynamic situations.
- FlyTopPilot—This virtual reality simulator provided campers with the ability to simulate flying off an aircraft carrier into a challenging route where they aimed to successfully fly through gates while competing for speed and accuracy.
- NSPIRE Flight School—Learned about what it takes to get a pilot’s license, from ground school to soloing, as well as completing a check-ride.
- Georgia Tech Aerospace Engineer—PhD candidate Kenneth Smith shared his amazing story he summarizes as “Failure to Forbes.” Campers saw that sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that to succeed sometimes you have to adapt or take a different path to achieve a goal.
- Civil Air Patrol—Introduced campers to the discipline expected from CAP Cadets and the incredible opportunities available to them as they grow with CAP.
- Traffic Helicopter—Smilin’ Mark MaKay cheerfully greeted the campers and shared wonderful stories about his unique adventures in the early morning skies reporting on traffic and breaking news—on the air from the air.
- Airport Director—Airport Director Mario Evans took students on a rare trip behind-the-scenes of an airport. The students saw FAA NAVAID and weather equipment up close, as well as having an incredible view of aircraft taking off and landing on parallel runways.
- PDK Fire Station—The firemen showed the campers their newest state-of-the-art rescue vehicle Charlie-15. The modern engine carries three different fire suppressant agents so the firefighters can tailor their response to each individual circumstance. They can direct and deploy any of the three agents from the cab of the vehicle while remaining mobile and continuing to drive around the emergency for maximum effectiveness.
The ASPIRE education program was developed by the Inspire Aviation Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, founded by a group of civilian leaders and aviation professionals dedicated to the goal of bringing a world-class air and space museum and educational center to the Atlanta metro area and the Southeast. Inspire Aviation Foundation is currently in the process of finalizing an agreement to lease a hangar and office space at Peachtree DeKalb Airport (PDK) to teach the internally-developed ASPIRE curriculum, as well as aviation curriculum developed by Georgia Department of Education, and nationally-recognized curriculum from the EAA and NASA. It’s estimated that this facility at PDK will be able to host approximately 1,500-2,500 students in the first school year (2023), as well as provide the ability to continue to run summer aviation camps. At full capacity, the Education Center aims to impact, in person, classrooms, and telematically over 15,000 students a year. This will be the first step towards the long-term goal of the Georgia Air & Space Museum and Education Center—a campus of learning, entertainment, research & development, tourism, economic development, and community involvement.
About the Georgia Air & Space Museum and Education Center
The Georgia Air & Space Museum and Education Center (dba Inspire Aviation Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) was born by a group of community leaders, educators, business, and aviation professionals in 2017. The foundation is dedicated to the goal of bringing a world-class air and space museum and educational center to the Atlanta metro area as well as to building a passion for life in Aviation, Aerospace, and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). The mission of the Georgia Air and Space ASPIRE Education Center is to create an environment where students are excited to learn and their imagination takes flight. The Center will increase awareness of Aerospace STEAM career opportunities and facilitate progression into rewarding career fields. For more information visit www.georgiaairandspacemuseum.org