S.C. Members Promote Aerospace Education for Girls in Aviation Day
1st Lt. Rachael Mercer
Public Affairs Officer
South Carolina Wing
South Carolina Wing members hosted six STEM-based learning stations—exposing over 175 young girls and nearly 100 parents, siblings, chaperones and teachers to aviation and related topics—at the annual Girls in Aviation Day hosted by Women in Aviation’s Palmetto Pride Chapter
Fourteen members from four squadrons came together at Charleston International Airport to welcome Girl Scouts, 4-H’ers and other girls from across the state the event, focused on introducing them to aviation careers and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts.
At one STEM station, wing members explained weather’s role in aviation. The lesson plans, developed by Maj. Tina Peterson, South Carolina Wing cadet programs director, looked at statistics on the number of weather-related aviation accidents.
Participants learned how to use a sling psychrometer, spin an anemometer and read a thermometer. This station, along with other Civil Air Patrol booths, featured CAP STEM Kit information. Many visitors photographed the display, hoping to receive more information about the STEM Kit program.
Two South Carolina Wing members exhibited their own planes. Lt. Col. Cindy Aulbach brought a Grumman AA1 and took time to discuss her 26 years in aviation with girls who stopped by her area.
Nearby, Capt. Jim Greco, Charleston Composite Squadron commander, and his wife, Capt. Marianne Greco, displayed their Grumman AA5. They explained parts of the aircraft and allowed visitors inside the cockpit.
Within a domed tent inside the hangar, Capt. Sandra Lacoscio, Lexington Composite Squadron commander and a pilot herself, worked with Senior Member John Stoll to host a “drone rodeo.” Children remotely operated small drones with the goal of moving them safely through an obstacle course.Although many children (and a few adults) assumed that flying the drones through hula hoops, around a traffic cone and over a jump rope would be simple, many learned that flying by remote control isn’t so easy after all.
The other two booths featured CAP’s aviation-based STEM Kits.
One station offered visitors the chance to try out three flight simulators. Hosted by Cadet Capt. Payton Mercer of the ACE Basin Composite Squadron, this stop drew long lines throughout the day as children and adults awaited their turn at the controls.
At one point, an F-16 pilot from Charleston Air Force Base sat down at the simulator to try his hand at flying a plane!
Two tables away, using balsa wood planes and a CAP aerospace lesson on the four forces of flight, Cadet Master Sgt. Nathan Mercer of the ACE Basin unit assisted children in drawing airplanes and labeling the two positive and two negative forces. While doing so he explained the roles that weight, lift, thrust and drag play in keeping a plane aloft.
At the day’s end, the participants and chaperones gathered in the hangar to hear from the event’s sponsors, including CAP. Maj. Tina Peterson, cadet programs director for the South Carolina Wing, and Payton Mercer, ACE Basin cadet commander, invited participants to learn more about CAP and experience the five free orientation flights each cadet receives with membership.
"The South Carolina Wing of Civil Air Patrol is thankful to get to partner with the Palmetto Pride Chapter of Women in Aviation at today's Girls in Aviation event," Peterson said. "Together, both of these organizations are committed to introducing girls to aviation, STEM careers and more."