Aerospace camp launched in Lebanon

Xavier Smith • Jun 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM

Twenty local middle school students will participate in an inaugural aerospace camp this week at the Lebanon Municipal Airport.

The Sattler Foundation Aerospace Camp, sponsored by the Bill Sattler Memorial Foundation for Aerospace Education, will provide educational opportunities for middle and high school students in the arts of building, maintaining and flying aircrafts, as well as exploring opportunities in the aerospace industry after high school.

The Bill Sattler Memorial Foundation was founded in 2015. April Sattler Dugger, Bill Sattler’s daughter, said her father always enjoyed aircrafts, as well as a love for young people, which led to the camp.

After many years as an active radio controlled airplane enthusiast, Sattler began building experimental aircraft in the basement of the family home in 1968.  He bought plans and built three T18s.

Dugger said her father was active in the Experimental Aircraft Association community and enjoyed taking young people for rides in his airplane with the Young Eagles program.  

“The goal is to use science, technology, engineering and math to introduce these students to space and aviation and inspire the next generation of pilots, flight engineers, air traffic controllers, mechanics and others,” Dugger said.

Head camp instructor Sue McPherson said the camp is a great opportunity for young people to learn about the industry and give them something to work toward as they grow.

“It’ll help, because they’ll grow up not wanting to do drugs or anything like, because they’ll focus on this, and you can’t do any of that stuff in this field,” McPherson said. “It gives them a reason to say ‘no.’”

Campers will fly a Cessna 172 via a simulator, conduct experiments, build models that really fly and tour the airport. Multiple speakers are scheduled to introduce aerobatic flight, use of drones, commercial flight, use of helicopters for medical transport and space exploration, among others.

At the end of the camp, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 863 volunteer pilots will take each camper on an introductory flight in a general aviation aircraft.

Campers were chosen from about 60 applicants who submitted essays on why they wanted to attend the camp and teacher recommendations. The camp is free to participants.

Dugger said she hopes the camp will expand in the future.

“We want to invite all middle and high school principals to camp this Friday to see what we’re doing here,” Dugger said. “We want to apply for grants and put simulators in schools.”

Dugger said the campers have impressed her with their attitude and effort.

“They showed up on day one and have really been energized, excited and interested,” Dugger said. “We’re going to have high school and middle school students who can build and aircraft before it’s all over with.”


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