AirSpace.Orb Flight Day Propelling Students Toward Careers in Aviation

HoustonWorks USA coordinates flight, meeting with Bronze Eagles to inspire high-schoolers

April 17, 2012

Fifteen-year-old Jared Slater had never been on a small airplane before this spring, but that all changed just a few weekends ago.

On March 31, the sophomore from HISD's E-STEM High School West joined more than five dozen students from other Houston-area campuses for a short but exciting excursion on a Beech Baron (a small, propeller-powered airplane that seats three, plus the pilot) at Ellington Field as a part of the AirSpace.Orb program.

"It was scary," said Jared. "You could feel every dip and drop, and all the turbulence."

Nevertheless, he said, the flight was "fun" and "a great experience," and one that only served to cement his desire to become a mechanical engineer who works on airplanes.

Propelling students toward careers in the aviation and aeronautics industries is the ultimate goal of AirSpace.Orb, a partnership between the HoustonWorks USA STEM Institute and Texas Southern University. Students from participating HISD high schools—including Eastwood Academy, the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, and the Young Women's College Preparatory Academy—engage in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities related to those subjects in anticipation of that goal.

But the recent field trip included one more special attraction, on top of the flights and quick tour of the control tower.

Students also got to meet and talk with representatives of the Bronze Eagles Flying Club of Texas, Inc., which has counted both descendants and relatives of the same Tuskegee airmen immortalized in the 2012 feature film, Red Tails, as its members.

"It was pretty interesting to meet all of them," said Jared. "They've been flying since the 1970s."

For more information on the AirSpace.orb program or the Bronze Eagles, please visit the links above.