seal  Purdue News

September 15, 2003

Purdue to help students, public reach for the sky

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University will continue its celebration of the 100th anniversary of manned flight with two community outreach days at the Purdue Airport.

Boeing 727 flight simulator
Download photo - caption below

On Friday (9/19), as many as 700 schoolchildren from Tippecanoe County will attend the Purdue Airport's Aviation Education Outreach Day, and on Saturday (9/20) the airport and Purdue's aviation technology department will host a public open house.

"From its association with flight pioneers like Amelia Earhart and Neil Armstrong, to establishing the country's first university-owned and operated airport, Purdue has a great history as a leader in aviation education and research," said Tom Carney, head of the aviation technology department. "We want to give people in the community a chance to see both the rich history and unparalleled future of aviation and aerospace education at Purdue."

On Educational Outreach Day, kindergarten through 12th-grade students from area school corporations will receive tours of the airport and laboratories in the Department of Aviation Technology and School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, see aircraft up close, and participate in hands-on lessons about different areas important to aviation.

They also will learn about airport security, the dynamics of flight and have the opportunity to try their hand at flying one of Purdue's flight simulators.

"We hope that the students will be inspired with the beauty and adventure of flight," airport director Betty Stansbury said. "We would like to have them think about all of the different areas of aviation as a career – piloting, airport administration, engineering, aircraft maintenance – but more importantly, we hope we can inspire them to go to college."

On Saturday, the public will have the opportunity to tour the airport facilities and learn about aviation technology at Purdue.

"We will have many of the aviation technology labs open for visitors with faculty and students on hand to talk about our educational programs and the types of research we do and to demonstrate some of our equipment," Carney said. "We will also have a number of aircraft on display – including some vintage planes – along with owners or pilots who can explain the functions and history of the airplanes."

Visitors will be able to see laboratories involving turbine engines, aircraft composite materials and advanced flight simulation. The aviation technology department also operates several flight simulators – including two large Boeing 727 simulators – and the laboratory where heads for the Purdue Pete costumes are made.

"The community has been very supportive of the Purdue Airport," Stansbury said. "We hope that if we can draw some people who have not been to the airport before, not only will they learn something about aviation and aerospace at Purdue, but also they will consider the local airport the next time they fly."

The Purdue Airport was founded in 1930 as the first university-owned airport in the country. AmericanConnection, a regional partner of American Airlines, serves the airport with two round-trip flights to St. Louis every day.

Other Purdue activities, both during and after Flight Week, that will celebrate the 100th anniversary of flight include:

• Purdue Galleries will present "Sky, Blue, Heavens," an exhibit running through Oct. 12 that showcases the response of artists to the technological and cultural phenomenon of manned flight.

• The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will be at Purdue Sept. 22-26 During that time they will provide master classes, dance workshops and school performances for the campus and the community. The residency will culminate in a performance at 8 p.m. on Sept. 26 of original works based on the theme of flight. The residency and performance are sponsored by Purdue Convocations.

• Retired Tuskegee Airmen Col. Charles McGee will speak at 7 p.m. on Oct. 3. McGee fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and he holds the record for the highest three-war total of fighter combat missions of any pilot in U.S Air Force history. His military career began as one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the famed pioneers who fought racial prejudice to fly and fight for their country in World War II. The event is sponsored by the Black Cultural Center.

• More than 250 third- through eighth-grade students will visit Purdue's Fall Space Day on Oct. 25 for hands-on activities involving space exploration. Astronaut and Purdue alumnus John Blaha also will speak.

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073,

Sources: Thomas Q. Carney, (765) 494-9954,

Betty M. Stansbury, (765) 743-3442,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web site:
The History of Flight at Purdue


Purdue seniors (from left) Ashley Snedeker, John Rearick and Lucy Capadona use one of Purdue's two Boeing 727 flight simulators. Snedeker, of Carmel, Ind., Rearick, of Chesterton, Ind., and Capadona, of Milwaukee, are students in the Department of Aviation Technology's flight program. The simulators are among the department's facilities that will be on display during Flight Week activities on Sept. 19-20. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

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