On a recent Friday at a Dallas-area high school, some students chose to forego the traditional “Friday Night Lights” to see a special Friday night flight. As the bright blue and yellow plane soared overhead, the students – who had spent several Saturdays working on the plane in a hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program – could not contain their excitement.
“We did it!” shouted a high school junior.
Wings of Hope provided the aircraft for the project, a Cessna 182. The nonprofit, Experience Aviation, provided the curriculum. Barrington Irving, record-setting pilot and Wings of Hope Honorary Council member, founded Experience Aviation to get students excited about pursuing STEM-related careers.
After a thorough check by our mechanics, the plane will be delivered to Nicaragua to support Wings of Hope’s partner, Adventist World Aviation, in their work providing medical air transport to people living in remote communities.
Wings of Hope President and CEO Bret Heinrich says the program gives students “an opportunity to really see the impact of their work in the world as their plane gets dispatched for international relief.”
“We hope we’re cultivating a love for STEM-related careers and broadening their awareness of the world,” Bret adds.
Steve Long, director of hangar operations for Wings of Hope, agrees that students benefit from knowing that the plane they worked on will go on to serve a humanitarian purpose.
“The kids work on an airplane that has a future of helping others,” Steve says.