Flight prep for 8th graders: Glider on SCVi campus sets stage for student flight 

SCVi students learn about the mechanics of flight. Courtesy photo.

Students at Santa Clarita Valley International charter school are taking flight — literally. 

As part of iLEAD’s Student Aerospace Project, SCVi hosted a Glider on Campus event on Monday in which students saw a full-size glider, learned about the mechanics of flight, and used the engineering design process to fabricate and launch their own gliders. 

The event was a part of the eighth-grade glider project in which students – who’ve been learning about aeronautics in class including the basics of physics, exploring the impact of flight now and in the past through unpacking the scientific mysteries behind flying objects – participated with their families. 

The highlight was student interaction with a full-scale glider just like the ones they will soon have a chance to fly in themselves.  

They heard from glider pilots about flight controls and aerodynamics, and how preflight training on simulators supports the development of flight and navigation skills. Interacting with a glider was an extension of their class projects where they’ve been learning about the history of flight, anatomy of birds, current experimental gliders and meteorology, all woven in to extend and enhance knowledge, giving meaning to research and writing. 

Kathleen Fredette, director of STEAM Initiatives at iLEAD California, thanked Skylark North for “bringing the magic of flight to our learning community. Having a full-scale glider on campus and interacting with pilots, hearing their journey and the impact that flight can have on an individual opens a whole new horizon – all sorts of opportunities and interests that young people don’t usually have exposure to.”  

Students will be taking their first glider flights on March 12 and 13 at Mountain Valley Airport in Tehachapi in partnership with Skylark North. They’ll take their first glider flight with certified flight instructors.  

“They’ve been preparing with flying simulators so they will be able to actually pilot the plane if they choose,” Fredette added. “The families will have the opportunity to interact with other pilots, view various aircraft, fly a simulator, and enjoy the beautiful grounds at Mountain Valley Airport.”   

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