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Wheels and Wings

Wheels and Wings
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It’s not unusual for hot rod enthusiasts to have an equal passion for things with wings, namely jets and other aircract. And on October 15, 2014 those two passions came together when the Southern Cruzers Car Club of Minnesota visited The Learning Jet, a Boeing 727 B200 which has been altered to create a STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-AEROSPACE-Math) classroom.

The Southern Cruzers gear up to tour the Learning Jet.

 

Steve Hurvitz, the Minnesota Street Rod Association Parliamentarian and the Learning Jet project manager, along with Kenny Ingram of the Southern Cruzers invited the Southern Cruzers to visit. It was a beautiful morning to have the club stop by to check out the progress.

Earlier in the month, MSRA Vice President, Renee Kaulfuss, took a tour of the Learning Jet.  Renee shared the following on social media. “ A while ago I posted about the MN Association of Women in Aviation (MNAWA) and the Learning Jet, a retired FedX plane that has been donated and is being turned into a learning tool for youth to adult to learn about becoming an airline pilot, a mechanical engineer and a host of other training with simulators for trains, planes, boats and trucks. Soon the project will be completed and people will be able to go on line and schedule a classroom training session. They encourage school age children, Boy and Girl Scouts, Civil Air Patrol or other Civic Groups to schedule a session. Today I took a tour of the "Learning Jet" and wow, what a lesson I learned from Radio frequencies, throttles for 3 engines, stabilizer trim, parking brake, fueling, auto pilot and so many gauges and flight instruments in the cockpit.”

The Learning Jet is about kids, the community, and the “WOW” factor. Getting kids and people in the community excited about learning; more specifically, learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, Aerospace and Math (STEM/STEAM). 

Starting with a “WOW” is the best way to engage in the learning process. 

FedEx Express generously donated a Boeing 727-200 to the Minnesota Association of Women in Aviation (MnAWA) to create a classroom for K-12 students and community organizations.  FedEx named the B-727 Timothy and after 20 years of service with FedEx, Timothy landed at St. Paul’s Downtown Holman field on July 31st, 2013.  Timothy has been going through renovations ever since; the interior has been turned from a dark, grey-green, cargo hold into an amazing bright, light, modern classroom.  It is truly “jaw dropping” to walk into this classroom.  This unique learning environment gives students the opportunity to walk up to a large aircraft and touch the  landing gear, stick their head up into the wheel well, sit in the captain’s seat, move the throttles, trim the stabilizer, read the altimeter and heading indicator, and so much more! A group of dedicated volunteers were truly “heaven sent” and have come together to donate countless hours of time and energy to make this vision a reality.  This learning environment is a “one of a kind” in the U.S. so every step in the process of converting this aircraft into a classroom has been an adventure! 

The Learning Jet curriculum is built around the concept of developing a students’ proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The curriculum incorporates STEM throughout a multi-modal transportation theme:  aerospace, railway, waterways, bike/pedestrian, highway, freight.  This is a reflection of today’s transportation system that generally relies on multi-modal transportation to move people and goods.  This curriculum will make students of the Learning Jet aware of this system and connect STEM concepts to real-world applications in multi-modal transportation. 

The curriculum is designed to enhance student’s capabilities as problem solvers and team players through hands-on learning.  Creating an interest and awareness in STEM through a hands-on learning experience will hopefully give students the inspiration and confidence to consider a career in a STEM field. 

The Learning Jet is looking forward to welcoming students and the community!  The renovations are down to the last finishing touches, and the aircraft will be moved to a “secure” parking space at Holman Field.  Check out the website at  http://mnawa.org/ for more information on the Learning Jet!  And to see the progress, check out the slideshow below!