Submitted by Erin Nolan
As we headed out I was so looking forward to the day because I couldn’t help thinking how are we are going to communicate aviation theories to kids who may or may not have even learned about anything like this before. But my hat is off to Jonathan because he really knows how to take information that some deem difficult and make it easy to understand for both youngsters and kids who may be completely new to all of this. The kids broke up their desks and immediately were being reviewed.
Selected kids will be a part of the Fly-Me day in March where 100 kids get to take their first flight so all of the kids are being actively observed and will be selected to participate in this upcoming event! For instance who picked up the trash that was left behind when moving the desks, who challenged statements and questions like which is bigger Africa or the United States, answers to certain questions like how does an airplane fly, and who answered the aviation homework assignment correctly. The best part of the day was when we discussed the four forces of flight. As I already mentioned Jonathan is amazing when it comes to relating to young people and trying to get a difficult principle across so we used active participation to encourage both excitement and learning.
After discussing Lift, Thrust, Weight, and Drag the kids demonstrated these principles simulating a chair as a plane with each student acting like a force accordingly. This was the coolest way to teach aerodynamics I have ever seen!
Oh and then I had to do the same and relate it to a helicopter! Not easy especially for the young man who was chosen to be the rotor and had to keep spinning around. And the girls who had to try and pick me up as the pilot had it rough too.
The excitement continued when friction was discussed and the kids were told to rub their hands together and explain how they felt. Most said hot, then they were asked to put a drop of engine oil in their hands and do the same thing and they said it was still warm but easier to do. Wow! now that is a sure way to explain friction and heat and why oil helps. I honestly have to say I would have never thought to use that technique… bravo!
The best part of the day is when Patricia speaks to the group. Not only is she articulate and captivating but everyone in the room can relate to her. It makes everyone feel like they too can learn aviation and become a pilot or an engineer. You can see it on their faces when she says she was born, raised, and trained in Ghana.
Some more discussion continued and a condition called bilhazia was brought up asking if anyone was experiencing symptoms. It is an issue because we were in a community that resides along the lake and this condition stems from being in infected waters. A few kids admitted to having symptoms and were told how to handle the sickness.This never was a determining factor on how kids were selected. Actually a youngster who was selected to fly was possibly infected and will be given care upon arrival. 20 kids were selected for the fly-me day and unfortunately their picture had to be taken in addition to other pertinent information to ensure the same students who were selected show up for the event.
Oh and by the way I will be watching these two girls during the fly-me even, they have been actively involved all day and have displayed so much interest and excitement.
Our next stop of the day was a visit to the Kete Krachi airfield. It seems to be in decent shape needing only minor repairs to get it up and running again. It would be a real resource to the community and everyone involved seemed interested and positive about getting it up and running. I was really surprised when I learned they already have their own active weather office still located at the airfield. Could you imagine if a child that is involved in the fly me day one day flies back into their own community via an airplane built in Ghana? How many more kids would be inspired by that type of event?
Our last stop of the day was back at the ferry port to give a safety briefing to port employees and local fisherman that work on the water near the port. Focus was on safety of everyone around the port and what the local fisherman can to do to help keep the local waters clean for themselves and accessible for future water landings on the lake.
All of the attendees were appreciative of all the information and suggestions that were given and I found out today they were extremely impressed by Patricia and would like her to return for future briefing at other ferry ports.Funny thing I am so impressed by her as well!