Thanks to an innovative aviation lab for sixth- through ninth-graders, 20 students from the South Metro Denver area will get up-close-and-personal with the world of flight this month at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado. The lab is a joint venture by Independence Aviation LLC (IA), a flight school/flight services company based in Centennial Airport, and STEM Ventures LLC, a for-profit corporation that provides innovative, world-class, cutting edge Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for K-12 students. STEM is based in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
“At IA we understand the importance of exposing young people to aviation as a potential career or avocation,” said IA President Robert L. “Bob” Stedman. “STEM’s creative curriculum and orientation coincides perfectly with this goal and we’re delighted to be a part of this important undertaking.”
Highlights of the week include a tour of an aviation maintenance facility, a tour of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Aerospace Department, and taking the controls of simulated flights in IA’s state-of-the-art FRASCA Cirrus SR22 Level 1 Flight Training Device. The week will end with one lucky student being chosen at random to win a significantly discounted flight lesson in a Cirrus SR20 aircraft with one of IA’s professional flight instructors.
Enrollment for the unique program reached capacity within one hour of being announced to the families of eligible STEM students. Instructors for the event are FAA certificated pilots who are also experienced aviation educators. They include pilots who fly for the EAA Young Eagles program, members of the Civil Air Patrol, retired U.S. Air Force pilots, and other STEM Venture stakeholders who fly for the sheer joy of flight.
The lab is the result of a grant awarded to STEM Ventures earlier this year by Wolf Aviation Fund (WAF). WAF’s mission is to help individuals work together in support of general aviation. Members of the Civil Air Patrol Black Sheep Squadron were pivotal in writing the grant.
“We are delighted to have Independence Aviation’s commitment to furthering the STEM educational concept through their participation and sponsorship of the aviation lab this summer. We hope this leads to more classes and broader offerings in the future,” said Judy Brannberg, Executive Director and Program Manager of STEM Ventures.
About Independence Aviation
Independence Aviation (IA) provides aircraft rentals, aviation instruction and pilot mentoring programs, plus aircraft and hangar management. Founded in 2007 by two veteran Certified Flight Instructors, the firm is guided by a philosophy that relationship-based flight instruction produces superior private pilots. Key elements of IA’s approach are to teach students in airplanes they’d be willing to fly cross-country, and mentor them as they evolve to aircraft that fly faster and higher. All IA planes are used for instruction and rentals to qualified pilots. The entire fleet is equipped with modern avionics and current databases, and each aircraft is impeccably maintained in both mechanical operations and appearance.
About STEM Ventures
STEM Ventures LLC provides innovative, world-class, cutting-edge Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for our customers — our students and parents. STEM Ventures owns, manages and designs K-12 charter schools with a STEM focus and an aviation and space emphasis. STEM Ventures is an entrepreneur driven model designed to transform the way that public education is done in America. STEM Ventures LLC also provides Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO), before and after-school programming, for all area students and schools in the Denver Metro area. This public-private partnership teams up with Colorado Front Range colleges and universities and high-tech industries to provide Research Labs that offer hands-on learning opportunities for students in the STEM disciplines in preparation for twenty-first century high-tech careers.