EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP ─ About 30 Egg Harbor Township Middle School students embarked on a whirlwind Flight Test Summer Aviation Program at Egg Harbor Township High School designed to pique their interest in aviation and aerospace and give them a taste of what’s to come this fall at the high school.

The Flight Test Summer Aviation Program provided a unique opportunity for students who are interested in aviation, aerospace and a wide range of aviation career exploration experiences to gain insight in an accelerated, engaging, fun format.

Spearheaded by Carmelita Graham, supervisor of Career and Technical Education and Instructional Technology at the high school, the Flight Test Summer Aviation program exposed students to lessons in flight planning, aviation history and the physics of flight, field trips to aviation-related sites, instruction on aircraft design and maintenance from professionals in the field, aircraft safety and flight simulation.

The two-week program began July 15 with a tour of Atlantic Cape Community College’s state-of-the-art STEM Building and an introduction by Donna Vassallo, Atlantic Cape’s dean of the Atlantic City Worthington Center and Workforce Development, followed by a presentation by professor Tim Cwik, Atlantic Cape’s Aviation Program Division chair.

Students were exposed to the air traffic control training simulator and training modules, Apollo 11 and drone flying at the college and a visit from the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center’s AvSTEM team, who shared the vital part that airport runway marking and maintenance plays in airline safety, aircraft firefighting rescue operations and tools used in emergencies, and modeling and simulation using Computer Science, engineering material arresting systems, helicopters and drones, and astronomical measures.

The comprehensive program’s packed agenda included co-presentations by retired airline pilot Janis Blackburn and retired aircraft mechanic Harry Aschoff from the New Jersey Aviation Education Council, that demonstrated how airline personnel communicate via radio and telephone using abbreviated International Phonetic Alphabet codes and airport aeronautical charts to avoid mistakes during conversations.

Students also received an up-close view of an F-16 during their visit to the 177th Fighter Wing NJ Air National Guard last week. Welcomed by Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Moseley, students were briefed by an F-16 pilot and maintenance personnel and viewed demonstrations by personnel from the engine shop and Aircrew Flight Equipment section of the 177th who provided students with new perspectives on those careers.

Lt. Col. Michael Castania, director of aerospace education at New Jersey Wing Aerospace Education for the Civil Air Patrol U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, shared flight commentary, types of pilot licensures and information on flying gliders and planes, and guided students through the process of building and flying their own Styrofoam gliders. The program culminated July 25 with students designing, building and launching their own water bottle rockets, with help from Castania, who presented aerospace engineering to students earlier in the day.

Egg Harbor Township High School’s new STREAM Academy will commence this fall and include an aviation track within three different concentrations of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics content. Arts and reading will be incorporated through networking and telecommunications, computer programming, and computer science engineering.

For more information, contact Graham at 609-653-0100, ext. 1681, or via email to grahamc@eht.k12.nj.us, or see the district’s website at eht.k12.nj.us.

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