Re: Aviation Explorer Post Start-up
Ed Darrell (EDarr1776@AOL.COM)
Mon, 19 May 1997 14:26:15 -0400
In a message dated 97-05-18 21:33:05 EDT, macpjr@PURVISBROS.COM (Mac Purvis,
This subject merits bandwidth if only to entice others to get into special
interest Exploring. I wish you had listed your location, but here goes.
I was an Explorer in Utah, with an LDS Post that made kayaks -- though I
spent every summer off with the Council instead. Since then I've been an
advisor for a government Post, and for the Aviation Post sponsored briefly by
AMR, American Airlines' parent company, at the headquarters near DFW Airport.
We had about 80 members, about 40 very active, drawing from both Circle 10
and Longhorn Councils (Dallas and Fort Worth).
<< So, I would ask the help of anyone with experience with Aviation Explorers
to answer a few questions and give any helpful advice in this venture:
1. What kind of activities do the kids like?
They like to get into airplanes, be around airplanes, and do other, real,
hands-on or close to hands-on stuff. We had a large number who wanted to be
flight attendants, as well as the large contingent who wanted to be pilots.
2. Do you get cooperation from FAA? Airlines? Military? For tours,
Local FAA types were most cooperative for tours of their facilities.
American opened their maintenance facilities often for tours. We had
several pilots involved, and their "just being there" during meetings was a
3. Do posts do a lot of actual flying, flight instruction etc.?
We wangled off-hours at local flight simulators (there are several in our
area for many different aircraft) -- though this meant we had small group
meetings sometimes at 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Simulator time is
getting more expensive, and this may not be true any more.
For insurance and safety reasons, actual flight instruction was disallowed.
Our ground school was incredibly popular, however.
4. How often do they meet?
We tried to get once-a-month meetings for everyone, with an activity. The
more active kids couldn't be kept out of airports and used the Post to find
connections to get them, legally, wherever they could go.
5. How many and what types of folks make good adult leaders?
Remember to keep everything at least 2-deep. You will most likely have an
evenly-split mix of genders, so you need to keep it 2-deep with at least one
leader of each gender (this was probably the toughest thing to do in the
whole enterprise!). We needed someone with access to company buildings for
meetings; someone who could use company supplies for mailings (photocopiers,
mechanical phone trees, etc.), and a bunch of people with great interest. As
I noted, the pilots were great draws, especially those who were instructors
and really liked to promote flying. Mechanics were popular, too.
6. Anything else that would help us with the "look" and "feel" of what an
Aviation Explorer post is like.
Had we tried to restrict activities to official, Post-sponsored things, it
wouldn't have done as well. We acted more as facilitators -- 10 kids wanted
to go to an air show at this airport this week, but 15 others wanted to see
an airshow next week. How to get them there? What kind of chaperoning? How
to get the kids to things they actually wanted to do?
7. I have done some searching, but are there any good Internet sites,
groups, etc I should be aware of. >>
Hal Shevers, the president of Sporty's Pilot Shop in Batavia, Ohio,
coordinated and financed the publication of "Aviation Careers Exploring,
Program Helps" in 1992 (BSA pub. no. 34626). I hope it or a successor is
still available. If you cannot get the book at all, e-mail me. If you don't
have someone close to you who knows about Sporty's, call 800/543-8633 and ask
for a catalog.
We didn't look at internet sites in 1992, but we did list organizations,
unions and companies that would be helpful. If you are close to a commercial
airport, you have a built-in source of support. If you are close to an
aircraft builder, you should be in some sort of luck (I've always envied
Wichita, Kansas as a site for an Aviation Post. Or Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Wow!). Make sure you make contact with the Airplane Owners and Pilots
Association (there is information in the Sporty's catalog).
Future Aviation Professionals of America (FAPA)
800-538-5627, in Atlanta, can give you some help.
See the "Directory" from the American Society for Aerospace Education (Suite
1303, 1750 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006) for lists of
resources and museums, etc.
There are NASA helps, FAA helps, lots of specialized organizations, an
incredible number of air shows every summer, and a large number of aircraft
museums around the country. It's a rich, rich area, and can be a heck of a
lot of fun.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City