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First-class aviation lessons

Over 4000 Wairarapa students from every school in the region are booked into Wings over Wairarapa’s Take Flight programme.

Supported by REAP Wairarapa, the programme will involve STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths] activities designed to inspire young people to consider flight and aerospace careers.

Students will get to meet aviation experts, engineers, pilots, and technicians, and learn about satellite tracking equipment, basic ballistics, body armour, missiles, and protection equipment, among other things.

NanoGirl Labs will put on science stage shows, and students will do activities involving aircrew maths, rocketry, virtual reality, robotics, drones, and more.

Air Cadets Tohi Valakvi-Jellie and Guinevere Norris – both of whom attend Wairarapa College – said they were excited about attending the programme.

“It’s an amazing opportunity which will show kids what’s out there and what they can do,” Norris said.

Valakvi-Jellie said students would not usually learn about aviation careers at school.

“There is a lot of diversity in the industry, and the technology is so cool. Hopefully, kids will be inspired to keep studying maths and physics so they can work in these highly specialised jobs,” he said.

Victoria University, Waikato University, Air New Zealand, Te Pukenga Wairarapa, Boeing, the Army, and the Air Force will operate a careers programme.

The youth programme is an expansion of previous years’ offerings, with the school activities on Friday, February 24th being made available over the weekend for all young people attending the air show.

“It’s very exciting to be able to expand the STEAM programme, which was massively popular in 2021, into the Take Flight programme for 2023,” said Take Flight co-founder and Wings Operation Manager Chris Tracey.

“One piece of feedback we had from 2021 was the desire for a programme targeted to secondary students who are keen to explore pathways and career opportunities.”.

Tracey said teachers had given overwhelmingly positive feedback to previous school programmes.

“It’s incredible to watch the reaction of young students who have never been near an aircraft.”

The 2023 Take Flight Programme is supported by Masterton Trust Lands Trust, Marops, L3 Harris, REAP Wairarapa, and American arms and aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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