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Youth Mentoring Aviation program prepares for flight

Candler Field Museum’s Youth Mentoring Aviation program has made great strides on the 1946 Piper J-3 Cub project since it began just over five months ago. Students disassembled the aircraft, removed the fabric covering, prepared the parts and then went through the recovering process including rib stitching and spray painting. The students are now in the process of reassembling the aircraft. During this phase they are learning about the various components and even some about aircraft hardware and terminology. The students will have the opportunity to actually fly in this aircraft when it is finished and flying. The plane’s frame was completely overhauled and reassembled and the interior was totally refurbished. The students are working under the supervision of several adult volunteers and EAA 468 members. The purpose of the program is to attract deserving youth, ages 12 through 20, who are considering future aviation careers. ’We have had over 20 students sign-up with approximately 15 actually participating,’ said Ron Alexander. ’The students work on mostly older aircraft under the guidance of mentors who also have deep interests in aviation. Through their work on the aircraft, the students earn future flying hours provided by the museum. Ultimately the students can become aircraft mechanics and or pilots. Some of the more active students have accumulated over 10 future flying hours. They will begin using these hours now that better flying weather is here.’ Students also participate in the museum hangar activities and events including cleaning and mopping the hangar and will participate in other facilities activities during the summer.  ’We have now brought additional aircraft into the program. The second is an Aeronca Champ which will be a complete rebuild, starting with covering the wings. The third aircraft will be a Piper Super Cub which also will be a complete rebuild project. The fourth aircraft is a Brunner-Winkle, Kinner powered Bird which we have already done some work on. We will be working on all of the aircraft at the same time.’ Along with all of actual aircraft work, students are working toward expanding museum facilities, including building shelving and other work spaces. ’One of our greatest needs, in addition to obtaining funding for the program, is more mentors to help with the actual work sessions on Wednesday evenings and on Saturdays,’ said Alexander. ‘The mentors do not have to be licensed mechanics or even licensed pilots to participate. The main qualification is the desire to help the museum and this great program prepare the young folks for a future in aviation.’ Youth Mentoring Aviation program members meet each Wednesday at 5 p.m. and each Saturday at 9 a.m. to work on the project. The program is free for young members and they will earn individual pilot training hours for their work. The non-profit program is sponsored by Candler Field Museum. Becoming a member of the museum helps sustain the youth program and other classes and projects for younger participants. To become a member, go to candlerfield.com. For information on the youth program, to donate tools and materials or volunteer, email ronalexander@mindspring.com.

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