The past few months have been all about planes — how they’re made, how they fly, famous aviators, air shows and simulators. My kids are hooked on them even though they’ve never flown before.
We took a vacation to Colorado Springs, CO and toured around at their more famous sites. We ate lunch in a plane restaurant — an actual restaurant where that was made from a gutted U.S.A.F. plane.
They sat us near the front by the cockpit and the kids got to run up and pretend to fly it to Timbuktu where we had lunch. We ran into a patch of rough weather, but they got us through it ok. It was touch and go there for a while there. Then they flew us home to the much more calm skies of Colorado. The experience is what you go for, not the food.
We went out to our local airport and watched the planes take off and land. They’re usually the one-engine planes, but occasionally a loud two-engine plane would fly overhead.
During the summer, the city put on a local air show with stunt pilots and a flyover by the U.S.A.F.
They got to see the planes close up and see how big they were compared to themselves.
J got to try out the homemade flight simulator made out of PVC pipes by someone at the airshow. It was actually a clever feat of engineering because it would move with you depending on how you moved the joystick.
E pretended to fly a Vietnam era helicopter.
There is a museum in Denver called The Wings of the Rockies that displays planes of many different eras. They don’t let you touch a majority of the planes, but they do have a few cockpits on display that are specifically for sitting in. They even have a Star Wars X-Wing replica.
The museum also highlights some famous pilots like Amelia Earhart. We had already studied about her and her travel so the kids were familiar with her and knew who she was when they saw her picture. This plane was his favorite.
The kids wanted to design their own plane so I bought them a little kit of balsa wood that allows you to design how many wings and general structure of your flying machine. It was a great idea, but pretty fragile set.
Still they made several planes out of it before the majority of the pieces had broken.
I made an altimeter, and an attitude indicator out of paper plates and laminated them. They move and rotate with slits and brass fasteners. (The attitude indicator is missing or I’d take a picture of it to show.) But they’re something that they can attach to cardboard box airplanes we make or use independently.
There’s no better way to learn than to experience it for yourself. For that, J got to take a ride in a friend’s plane! He couldn’t have been more excited! His dad went with him and took an hour long tour along the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
They flew over our house, church building and other places.