The Society of Experimental Test Pilots, West Coast Section, participated in the Wings Over Camarillo annual airshow and STEM Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday, August 21 and 22 respectively. We had a strong showing with eight members of The Society who dedicated their time to further the SETP educational outreach program at the STEM event. The airshow gates opened at 0900 each morning and soon the STEM pavilion was full of young people and their families curious and eager to make paper airplanes and learn how airplanes fly. There were some tried and true airplane designs that flew well in each of the mission areas, speed and accuracy (through the hula-hoop), long distance, and long duration, as well as some new ad-hoc designs that could not overcome gravity. The interest at our table ebbed and flowed with the dynamics of the air show events. For obvious reason, the STEM pavilion emptied when the thunderous Super Hornet demonstration shook the ground, and then again when the Red Bull aerobatic helicopter took to the sky. Some of the best moments were helping the adults make a paper airplane for the first time and seeing the expression of accomplishment when their design flew well. On Saturday, one young teenager spent about two hours making airplane after airplane, each time refining the design, just to fly his airplane through the hula-hoop from greater and greater distance away. There was serious effort and therefore learning placed into each new aircraft he made. One of the most enjoyable moments came when a little boy about 5 years of age, tried and tried to fly his airplane through the hoop. When he was finally successful, the dance he danced and smile on his face said it all…he completed the mission. In total, this was a very good event with a little return toward normal in this COVID Delta Variant environment. I believe we made a difference in some, maybe more than a few, to continue learning about flight and flight test.
SETP Saturday Team, Kevin Gross (AF), Mike Meier (AF), Andrew Fama (M), Paul Meyer (AF) (not pictured is Brian Sandberg (AF)
SETP Sunday Team, Mike Rabens (F), Kevin Gross (AF), Paul Meyer (AF), Brian Sandberg (AF), Rory Kipper (M), Jason Saglimbene (M)
Andrew Fama (M) with a future test pilot
Teaching future test pilots