Summer aviation camp continues to reach for the skies
By Richard L. Gaw
At the exact moment several of her friends were likely plunked in front of a television, an iPad or their iPhone, 11-year-old Abby Goodwin was sitting beside a flight instructor in the early afternoon of July 13, soaring in a Cessna 150, high over her hometown of Hockessin.
It was called a discovery flight, and during it, she was given the controls of the plane.
When the plane landed back at the New Garden Flying Field, she thanked her instructor, hopped off the Cessna and, with a beaming smile, rejoined her 62 fellow campers at the ninth annual Future Aviators Summer Camp, held July 10 to 14.
“I took a trip to Pittsburgh in a plane, and I thought it was really cool, so I asked my dad if I could learn more about flying and fly a plane myself, and he told me, 'We'll find something,'” she said. “I think this camp is really fun and educational, and I would recommend it to any young person who wants to learn about aviation.”
As in past years, campers spent a full week learning hands-on about airplane construction, aero modeling and rocketry by building and launching their own miniature rocket; using flight simulators; attending a Fit2Fly team building trail; and visiting the Uduar-Hazy Center at the National Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport in Chantilly, Va.
The camp, which will be repeated this summer from Aug. 7 to 11, also received a visit from a pilot from the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, who flew into the Flying Field on a Blackhawk and gave tours of the aircraft – as well as talks from a military pilot and rocket science engineer.
Stories and opportunities like Goodwin's are in full supply every summer at the camp, which engages youngsters from ages 7 to 15 in nearly every aspect of aviation. Some kids attend merely out of a fascination for the science of flight, while others look at the camp as a stepping stone for a future in aviation.
New Garden Flying Field general manager Jon Martin, who has developed the camp with flight instructor Court Dunn since it drew just 28 campers nine summers ago, said the clearest indicator of the camp's success is seen not only in the high number of return campers, but the fact that the camp's 30 counselors are all past attendees.
Madison Brown attended the Future Aviators Summer Camp for five summers, and became a junior counselor last summer. A recent graduate of Kennett High School, she is headed to Syracuse University in the fall to study communications, and intends to have aviation remain a part of her life through college and beyond. Brown is currently working on her private pilot's license, so that she may become a certified flight instructor.
“My godmother and her husband are full-time pilots at American Airlines, and they both served in the Air Force,” Brown said. “Growing up, that was always inspirational for me to hear, to see her talk about getting her pilot's license at a very young age. It became something that I wanted to do, so when I realized that there was an airport near where I lived, I wanted to get involved, and as soon as possible.”
Abby Goodwin wants to become a veterinarian, but would also like to obtain her pilot's license in the future.
“This way, if someone can't get to me with their animal, I can get in a plane and get to them,” she said.
To learn more about the Future Aviators Summer Camp at the New Garden Flying Field, visit www.newgardenflyingfield.com, or call 610-268-2619.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email email@example.com.