Daniel Eddy / Lantern Photographer
Middle school students were put behind the controls of an airplane — and some students said flying wasn’t easy.
“It was hard to remember to keep the nose up instead of down and then I would always mix the controls,” said Sophie Ovellette, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Ecole Kenwood Middle School. “I thought in was up and out was down but it was OK, I crashed.”
But Ovellette’s flight was just a simulation. About 20 middle school students were at the Ohio State University Airport on Wednesday, located at 2160 W. Case Road, for a guided tour.
Students got the chance to sit in an aircraft cockpit, test a flight simulator and talk to pilots.
During a guided tour, students were able to see the different aspects of operating an airport.
The tour allowed the students like Ovellette to climb in a flight simulator and experience what it is like to fly an aircraft without the worry of injury or death.
Cindy Overly, recruitment and outreach coordinator for OSU’s Center for Aviation Studies, said getting more than a tour is what makes coming to the airport so interesting for the students.
“There is a lot of hands-on activity, they are not sitting at a desk. They’re learning a lot about an important industry in Ohio and in the country and they get experience,” she said. “When you see them sitting behind the flight simulator it’s very cool.”
During the simulation, a flight instructor sat next to the student, guiding and giving the student tips on how to fly.
Janet Maragos, a site coordinator for Columbus City Schools, said she wanted to provide students with a new experience they might not have thought about before.
“My job … is to expand their horizons in a different way academically,” she said. “Getting them out of their environment and showing them ‘hey look what’s here.'”
She said the airport received high recommendations from her peers, and she wanted to show the students that aviation consisted of more than just pilots.
Andrew Trick, a fourth-year in aviation management and a tour guide at the airport, has logged in more than 100 hours of flying and said it is always enjoyable to see younger kids become interested in what he is doing.
“A lot of these kids when they come in have never seen a plane up close,” he said. “They have never had an experience like this.”
The middle school students also participated in the Breakfast of Champions, designed to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, said Miryam Chandler, the outreach coordinator for STEM Initiatives.
Aviation is physics-heavy, and Tricks said he and the other guides try to relate the science behind flying during the tour.