The Santa Monica Airport chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) recently partnered with John Wilson, Scoutmaster of Pacific Palisades Boy Scouts of America Troop 23, to help twelve aspiring Eagle Scouts earn their Aviation Merit Badges.
EAA Chapter #11 President Dominic Cerniglio teamed with certified flight instructor James Bast of Santa Monica’s Proteus Flight School to present a two-hour ground school lesson as part of the BSA merit badge requirements. In addition to learning the basic principles of flight while working with actual aircraft, scouts were introduced to flight planning, fuel management and how weather and winds affect flight.
The scouts also met an FAA air-traffic controller from the Santa Monica Airport tower who gave a presentation on tower operations, and how air traffic control maintains the separation of aircraft in our airspace. The controller brought the Tower’s radio backup equipment and the scouts were excited to both listen and see first-hand how the controllers work with the pilots in the air and on the ground to maintain safe separation of air traffic.
After a lunch break on the upper Observation Deck and a chance to watch planes taking off and landing, the scouts were treated to their first ride in a small piston plane. During their flights to Malibu and then over to the Hollywood sign and downtown Los Angeles, the scouts got a chance to see in action what they had learned about flight in the morning.
Troop 23 Assistant Scoutmaster Welborn Ferrene said: “All the scouts had an amazing time learning about aviation and experiencing their first flight in a small plane. To be able to fly over their schools, homes and neighborhoods with a new knowledge of the science of flight was an invaluable experience for them. Thanks to the local EAA chapter and the Young Eagles program for providing this opportunity. Santa Monica Airport is a historic and irreplaceable local resource for Santa Monica and all the surrounding communities. We are lucky to have this thriving community of pilots, aviation businesses, artists, schools, restaurants and sports facilities for all to use.”
EAA Chapter #11 President Dominic Cerniglio said, "One of our missions as a non-profit organization is to encourage local youth and adults to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) though the medium of Aviation and Aviation technology. By introducing kids to flight on Young Eagles Days, EAA chapters around the world have donated nearly two million rides over the last 25 years.”