Celebrate Freedom Foundation Holds Third SOaR™ Aviation Science Summer Camp July 13 - 19
Gov. Nikki Haley meets with students attending
CFF’s 2014 SOaR™ Aviation Science Summer Camp
on Monday, July 14. Above, Gov. Haley (center) is shown with Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II team members at the S.C. Aeronautics Commission. She later posted the photo on her Facebook page. Click here to see it.
Columbia, S.C. — Celebrate Freedom Foundation (CFF) held its third consecutive SOaR™ Aviation Science Summer Camp from July 13 to 19 at Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute, Camp Long, in Aiken. Graduation ceremonies were held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 19 for the 50 participating high school students.
“The purpose of the camp was to help students understand that there are opportunities available to them in aviation,” said Dr. Russell “Russ” David, director of CFF’s SOaR™ Aviation Education Program. “We emphasized STEM subjects like science, technology, engineering and mathematics, because this is a technological age, and most careers — not just jobs but good careers — are in technology. We also emphasized careers in aviation, because it’s one of the largest industries in the world. Most people, when they think of aviation, think about flying as a pilot. But being a pilot is a very small part of aviation.
“The thing that makes CFF’s summer camp so important is that it can help a young person formulate a vision for a future career choice now instead of waiting until they graduate from high school to formulate one,” he added. “Although it’s called an ‘Aviation Aerospace Science Summer Camp,’ the camp’s main emphasis is to help students focus on their strengths and to help them overcome their weaknesses. With such a broad variety of activities planned and so many places to visit, students have hands on encounters with the real world and what it has to offer in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is what makes this particular camp unique above all others.”
The Celebrate Freedom Foundation, the S.C. Aeronautics Commission and the CFF SOaR™ summer camp’s sponsors recognize the importance of creating and sustaining a workforce for South Carolina’s booming aviation industry and each year strive to enlighten high school students by hosting the dynamic, aviation-oriented summer camp, according to Larry Russell, executive director of the CFF.
This year, students performed actual maintenance on multi-million dollar aircraft under the direct supervision of FAA-certified airframe and power plant mechanics. They also had an opportunity to examine up close mission-ready AH-1F Cobra helicopters.
“Today’s students have been raised with computers since birth,” Russell said. “They’ve learned to interact with keyboards and mice on a daily basis. Unfortunately, a lot of training has been based around simulation or in a virtual world. But watching a helicopter hover in mid-air with hurricane strength winds and thunderous sounds is quite different on YouTube verses witnessing it in person.”
Each student flew a Cessna 172 fixed-wing aircraft on a cross country flight.
“They didn’t just sit in a flight simulator, and didn’t just take a ride in the back seat,” Russell emphasized. “They sat in the co-pilot’s seat, took off, flew cross country and landed.”
The Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, has a three-part mission, one of which focuses on aerospace education. So, beginning this year, the CAP offered a rocketry course and provided a flight simulator to support the CFF SOaR™ summer camp.
Each year, competition is fierce to attend the CFF’s popular SOaR™ summer camp.
This year, approximately 558 students (eleventh and twelfth graders) applied for only 50 spots available. Last year, the summer camp attracted applications from all over the Southeast and from as far away as Trinidad and Puerto Rico.