Aviation Day at the Grant County Regional Airport in John Day introduced over 62 fifth- and sixth-grade students to the facets of flight, including exploring the field as a possible future occupation.

“It’s about exposing the students to a variety of career paths in aviation,” said airport manager Haley Walker, who organized the event with Didgette McCracken, Oregon State University Open Campus coordinator.

Students from Humbolt Elementary, Dayville School, Prairie City School and four homeschooled students attended five morning and five afternoon sessions.

McCracken said besides the classes, Aviation Day also introduces students to the facility.

“We want kids to see what a great airport we have,” she said.

Volunteers from the Grant County Airport Commission, Oregon Department of Aviation and local pilots lent a hand instructing the students.

Local pilots assisting included Kathy Stinnett, who taught about general aviation and the labeling on runways, and Bob Bagett and Doug Ferguson, who talked about Grant County Air Search with a discussion on safety — students in their session earned “wings” (small pins to wear).

Stinnett, Bagett and Ferguson are all members of Air Search, Ferguson as chairperson. Bagett and Ferguson are also members of the Grant County Airport Commission, and Ferguson is on the board for the Oregon Department of Aviation.

A total of 20 volunteers were present, including Ashley Armichardy of Blue Mountain Community College, who spoke about college and career readiness, and a Southwest Airlines flight attendant. Some volunteers traveled from Salem, Bend and Boise to share their expertise.

The event was a collaborative effort between the airport, Oregon State University Open Campus and the Grant County school districts.

“The goal of the day is to showcase the variety of careers aviation can provide through hands-on, interactive learning,” Walker said.

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at angel@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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