Milwaukee, Wis.— The Experimental Aviation Association’s (EAA) Annual Convention and Fly-In in Oshkosh, Wisconsin has grown to be the largest annual fly-in in the world. In 2019, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh welcomed more than 642,000 people from 93 nations, along with more than 10,000 aircraft. STARBASE Wisconsin attended the 2019 Fly-In to conduct educational outreach and science teacher training.
STARBASE Director, Colonel (R) John Puttre, joined the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) to showcase STEM educational programs funded by the WSGC. STARBASE Wisconsin is a recipient of WSGC grants this year. The mission of NASA’s Space Grant Program contributes to the nation’s science enterprise by funding education scholarships, research, and informal education projects through a national network of university-based Space Grant consortia. Their mission is todevelop a strong science, mathematics, and technology education base from elementary through university levels with a focus on the aerospace and space sciences. At STARBASE’s showcase, youth designed vehicles on Computer Aided Design software for missions on air, ground, and water and flew aircraft on flight simulators.
STARBASE educators also attended the EAA Teachers Day. Educators from around the world gathered to share best practices and methods for aviation education. STARBASE Wisconsin presented a seminar on “Indoor Rocketry.” Rocketry is a form of flight that lends itself to teach Newton's Laws of Motion and Engineering Design in a small space such as a gymnasium or hallway. Wisconsin's winter and rainy weather does not need to stop educators from teaching flight at school. They demonstrated the Pitsco Education Company’s straw rockets and Carbon Dioxide (CO2)-powered rocket car kits as appropriate models for simulating flight and propulsion indoors.
The EAA also arranged for teachers to meet General Joe Engle, an Astronaut who flew during NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle era, and Jeannie Engle, JohnsonSpace Center’s (JSC) Chief Knowledge Officer. Aerospace career leaders from Boeing’s Engineering Department and Fox Valley Technical College’s Aeronautics Program discussed needs for an educated aviation workforce. Boeing’s plane production is growing in software development and supply chain management. Once the planes are built, the 800,000 future pilots are needed worldwide to fly cargo and people. North America alone will need 200,000 future pilots to meet existing and future industry demands. STARBASE Wisconsin’s afterschool and day school STEM programs can develop abilities and interests in local youth to expand Wisconsin’s aerospace and aviation talent pipeline.