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Scouts Get A Lesson In Aviation

(April 08, 2009)

Courtesy of: Brendon O’Reilly and The Southhampton Press

On their way to earning their Aviation Merit Badges, Boy Scouts with Southampton Troop 58 made a trip to Brookhaven Airport on Sunday for a look inside the Mid Island Air Flight School with Assistant Chief Pilot Gary Spence.

Mr. Spence gave the Scouts a lesson not only in aviation history, but also on the math behind flying—including the weight and balance calculations required before takeoff to know if the plane can carry all the passengers—and the science behind it, such as 18th century Dutch-Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli’s principle that explains how a wing can lift a plane off the ground. To demonstrate Bernoulli’s principle, Mr. Spence had each Scout blow on a sheet of paper and watch how the paper lifts up instead of bending down as the wind flows over it.

Once they knew how planes worked—reducing the pressure above the wings—they moved into Mid Island Air’s hangar for a look at the inside of a single engine plane, and all its bells and whistles.

Pilots also need to be able to read the weather forecast to know if it’s safe to fly, Mr. Spence told the scouts.

“We’re not asking our pilots to be meteorologists,” he said, “but you have to know more about the weather than, ‘Hey, it looks like a nice day today.’”

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