In line with their mission to provide members of the general public and youth with an educational opportunity to learn about aviation, EAA Chapter 1044 in Navajo County recently developed an experimental airplane building project in Heber-Overgaard.
The group began their Youth Education Program in 2016 by offering aviation scholarships. So far they have awarded 5 local youth with scholarships to attend the EAA National’s Air Academy summer aviation camp. This week-long camp exposes campers to all things aviation, including learning about airplane wing construction; ground school; flight instruction (helicopter and fixed wing); aeromodelling; aviation weather; aviation history; and flight.
Along with the scholarships, the EAA Chapter plans to expand their program to offer aircraft rebuilds. After receiving a donated airplane in 2017, they began to establish a plan to rebuild the airplane with youth from the community to make it function properly again. Once restoration is complete, the participants will perform tests to calculate the new center of gravity of the airplane.
With an estimated population of less than 3,000, Heber-Overgaard is a small, rural community that doesn’t always have access to as many STEM resources as urban areas. For this reason, the EAA group is trying to offer these opportunities and encourage the youth to consider careers they may not have been exposed to in the past in either aviation or aerospace.
The group plans to try and work with the 300 junior high and high school age youth in Heber-Overgaard and encourage a field in aviation through hands-on projects, scholarships for aviation camps, and mentor programs. With funding from RAIN the group is growing their programing and working to offer more resources to the entire community.
The Arizona Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN) is funded by the National Science Foundation to oversee grant funding for informal STEM education projects in four rural Arizona communities: Cochise County, Graham and Greenlee County, the Verde Valley, and the Navapache/White Mountains region. RAIN acts as a resource for best practices in informal STEM program development and works to highlight effective STEM programs, employers and organizations across the state of Arizona. Interested in applying for a grant? Visit our website today and learn more about the opportunities in your community.