r The Nebo School District Advanced Learning Center has an aviation program that offers five different courses in its curriculum with 140 students enrolled in those classes. In the basic aeronautical knowledge class, the students learn about different airplanes and wing designs for different purposes. Just before the Christmas break, 51 students over a two-day period made a field trip to the Pilot Makers Advanced Flight Academy hangar in Heber. They were accompanied by their instructor Mark Halls. The students were able to see up close nine different airplanes, several of which are rare or uncommon at most airports.
The first airplane that caught the attention of the students was the big North American Aircraft T-6. This airplane trained so many pilots during WWII that it became known as the “Pilot Maker” which is where the flight school in Heber gets its name. This airplane is used by owner/pilot Barry Hancock for airshow performances around the country.
In the same hangar was an aerobatic biplane designed by Curtis Pitts known as a Pitts Special S2C that for many years dominated the world of competition aerobatics. Next to the Pitts was the current plane that dominates unlimited aerobatic competition and air show performances the Extra 300 designed by a German Aerobatic pilot Walter Extra. This airplane has a symmetrical airfoil with a zero angle of incidence and performs equally well upright or inverted. The airframe is stressed for a plus or minus 10 G load, which means 10 times the weight of the airplane and pilot.
The basic aerobatic training airplane where students start their aerobatic experience, the Super Decathlon, returned from a flight with a student receiving aerobatic flight training while the students were touring the flight school.
The students went on to look at the more conventional flight training airplanes including the Cessna 172 and the Bristell NG a new modern design low wing airplane with computer screen flight and navigation instrumentation. These are the airplanes students are earning their private pilot and instrument rating in.
The Beechcraft Baron, the airplane used for multi-engine training, was in the maintenance hangar. The students got to see the engines with the cowling off. The Maintenance Director, Jerry Jorgensen talked about airplane systems and answered a lot of questions.
Another interesting airplane the students were able to see was the Beechcraft Model 18, a classic 8 seat twin-engine airplane first manufactured in 1937.
It was a great learning opportunity for these high school students to see different airplanes and learn a little bit about how they are all designed for different purposes.