Apperson waves to her mother as she flies by at KidVenture.
Photo by Phil Weston
Tille in the "My First Logbook" area with
instructor Mike Garrison. Photo by Phil Weston
Young shreds with the help of SFC Lincoln Beverley at
KidVenture. Photo by Phil Weston
from all the action along the flightline and AeroShell Square are
the smiling faces of children at KidVenture, located at Pioneer
is a place where children and their families can enjoy learning
about aviation with hands-on activities, simulators, and aviation
heroes. Many of the simulators take children on missions from NASA
and the Wright brothers.
have so much fun, and you hardly hear kids crying around here
because they are so excited," said volunteer Kay Nordbye.
organizations at KidVenture include the U.S. Army, Balsa USA, the
FAA, Wings of Dreams, and more. These organizations donate their
time to introduce children to aviation.
U.S. Army, and its Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), not
only gives information regarding internships, competitions, and
scholarships at KidVenture, but it also hosts a rocking interactive
video game, known as Guitar Hero.
game is set up in the back of a U.S. Army Hummer with surround sound
and three flat screen TVs. Children can become Top Rockers by
playing the handheld guitar to rock music and see how well their
hand-eye coordination is.
visiting KidVenture are enjoying watching Mark Enderby of Balsa USA,
build a Fokker E. III Eindecker kit he started Monday. After he
finishes the kit, it will be donated to the Northern Aces Air Show
is attending AirVenture for his 29th year and volunteering at
KidVenture for his third year. "I started volunteering for
other areas of AirVenture, but working with the kids here at
KidVenture is a lot of fun," Enderby said.
walking through KidVenture, one cannot miss the FAA and its
Hazardous Materials Find the Crime walkthrough course. The Find the
Crime course explains to children what is acceptable and not
acceptable to pack in checked luggage. After completing the short
course, children will receive an honorary Special Agent Certificate
along with an FAA pin.
ages 3 to 7, can take rides in Marv Hoppenworth’s homebuilt pedal
planes at the Fly a Pedal Plane booth. Although babies’ feet
cannot reach the ground to pedal, many parents and children are
stopping by to take pictures alongside the Top Cat pedal planes.
Marv and his wife, Cathy, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have volunteered at
KidVenture for many years and continue to donate not just their
time, but the pedal planes as well. "It’s fun to watch the
children get started in the pedal planes, because it takes them a
while to get used to the turns," Cathy said.
seem fascinated with the Wings of Dreams display and speaking with
Michael "Orville" Markowski, the aeronautic engineer who
built the Windy and designed the Wind Tunnel Model of a space
shuttle in 1971. Children can view the Windy and learn how it
measures lift and drag. This EAA Hall of Famer received a four-year
degree from Penn State University after receiving a scholarship for
the Windy. "I want to inspire kids and help them make their
dreams come true," Markowski said.
presented at KidVenture is "My First Logbook." Kids can
make their first step into aviation by virtually flying and having
it recorded in their very first logbook. Aviation Supplies &
Academics, Inc., the National Association of Flight Instructors, and
EAA are sponsoring the activity, and NAFI volunteers are providing
flight instruction to the children. Every pilot that is learning to
fly must work from a training syllabus, go through lessons, and fly
a Cessna 172 on a computer.
can learn to rivet, craft their own propeller, compete in an
Aviation Artist Contest, listen to important figures in aviation on
the Aviation Hero Stage, and much more. KidVenture is open daily
from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and until 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 3.
"Kids will come
back every single day, learn about aviation, and see important
aviation icons," Nordbye said. "It’s an amazing
opportunity for families and children."