Upper School Students Enjoy STEM Field Trip at Melbourne International Airport

Christiana Deeter, Upper School Chemistry Teacher
A small but fantastic group of our Upper School students ventured over to the east coast on Friday, March 29, 2019, for a STEM experience at Melbourne International Airport. It was an amazing day filled with several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
We began the day at the airport itself, getting a behind the scenes look at the day to day running of an airport. We went onto the tarmac, saw the backroom of baggage claim, and even explored the customs area.

Next, we headed over to Harris, a corporation specializing in avionics and military technology. We were guided through their Global Innovations Building with a VIP tour that included demonstrations of virtual reality satellite launches, bomb robots, and plane simulators. The questions that our students asked were so insightful and intelligent that our tour guide pulled me aside and told me how impressed she was.

We were then provided lunch at the air traffic control tower as we ate pizza and observed the controllers direct all of the airplanes arriving for the air show. Once the air show began, we were led to the roof of the tower to observe the F35 planes (which seemed to completely defy the laws of physics.)

Once the show was over, we were led to the hangars specializing in airplane modifications. We spoke with aviation technicians, engineers, and pilots about everything aviation. We saw planes in various stages of upgrades or modifications and spoke with engineers about the Boeing planes recently grounded and the repairs being developed and implemented.

The highlight of the day was when we were personally escorted to the US Air force pilots who flew the F35 and F18 planes during the show. These incredible servicemen took time out of their day to speak one on one with our students and answer all of their questions (mostly physics related). Jeremy S. ’21 even got a hands-on demonstration of their pressurized flight suits.

I am so proud of our students and the way they presented themselves to the world. I received so many compliments on how professional, intelligent, and passionate our students are, and I am so thankful that we are able to provide experiences like this for them.