Boy Scouts earn merit badges during Aviation Day

Local News

Some local boy scouts got a chance to an get up close and personal look at what it takes to be a pilot. Scouts from the Blue Mountain Ridge Council were earning their aviation merit badges, while organizers hope it will encourage them to get into the field. 

Whether’s it’s talking to experience pilots or getting hands on under the wing, for these boy scouts in the Blue Mountain Ridge Council it’s all cool.

“I didn’t think it would be that cool, because it was like 7 in the morning, but now yeah it’s pretty cool,” said Ian Johnston, a 17 year old boy scout.

17 year old Ian Johnston is one of 20 boy scouts and 15 cubs scouts  who earned their aviation merit badge on Friday.   It’s part of the Aviation Day. A program organization by the Virginia Museum of Transportation,
in partnership with Star Flight Training and the Roanoke Blacksburg Airport. The scouts learned everything a pilot needs to know from performing a pre-flight check to how to read charts.

 “I’ve learned how they actually work.  How the air goes over the wings, and generates lift and stuff. And I learned how all the engines work,” said Johnston.

 Scouts got a chance to jump into the cockpit of several different planes.  Organizers hope the experience will spark an interest and they will jump into the field of aviation.

“You probably heard about the pilot crunch.  Airlines need pilots. Pilots are needed all over the world.  So just having children be around aviation and understand it’s something they can do.  That’s going to alleviate the pilot crunch in the future,” said Jon Beard, chief flight instructor of Star Flight Training.

The scouts learned the history and science of aviation at the Transportation Museum, in between playing with the flight simulator.  Education Specialist, Courtney Plaster hopes days like this will encourage scouts to pursue careers in STEM fields.

“Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We know those are fields that are definitely needed in the career world,” said Courtney Plaster.

Plaster says because the world will not just need more pilots but  people to support the pilots.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation is working with Star Flight Training and the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport  to create programs to make aviation accessible to the whole community.

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