What did the Aviation Academy accomplish during 2022?
The reduction of Covid quarantines and increased vaccinations allowed the Academy to return to close to normal operations during 2022. Following is a report of many of the things we did during 2022 (or view as a PDF).
- Aviation Camp for 8th and 9th Graders returned for the first time in two years. Twelve campers enjoyed field trips to Portsmouth, NH, to visit Pease Tower to learn about air traffic control. Plane Sense, a charter company, also located at Pease, provided a tour of their facility, and introduced campers to their aircraft. On Tuesday, campers visited Southern Maine Aviation at Sanford Airport to experience their full motion simulator. The kids had a great time. Some even had a successful landing! Wednesday, the NH Army National Guard flew a brand-new Blackhawk helicopter to Fryeburg for the campers to visit and get rides. This may have been the highlight of the week! Thursday, we traveled to Franconia Soaring for glider flights. Everyone enjoyed an opportunity for “powerless” flight. The week ended on Friday with a BBQ and plane rides for all.
- On August 27th we held our first Aviation Day with attendance of over 300 people. This was a community event to show our appreciation for public support of Eastern Slope Aviation Academy. The day started with a Spot Landing Contest which was won by one of our solo students. The completion was a live broadcast by local Radio Station WMWV (including the theme from “Top Gun” for each landing). The Mount Washington Valley Old Car Club displayed their vehicles. We had an Aviation Flea Market, BBQ lunch and gave over 30 plane rides. The event was a success and will return in August 2023. Thank you to all of our volunteers for their help.
- During the fall and spring semesters the Academy provided simulator training to 21 Kennett High School, Mount Washington Valley Career Technical Center aviation students as well as a presentation about careers in aviation including flight training, mechanics, air traffic control and the business of aviation.
- During Fryeburg Academy’s “May Term” the Aviation Academy provided three weeks of intense aviation instruction to 21 students. The experience included two classes, Introduction to Aviation and Aviation 2. Fourteen students attended Introduction to Aviation where they were introduced to career opportunities in aviation as well as the history of flight, aerodynamics of flight, aviation weather, navigation, aeronautical decision making and regulations for flight safety. Each student also received a Discovery Flight and an introduction to our Grumman aircraft restoration project. Seven Aviation 2 students (who had attended Intro in 2021) received more advanced training toward their Private Pilot License. Each day Aviation 2 students received ground school training and flight instruction. Most completed May Term with about 10 hours of flight time. Mark “Woody” Woodruff, CFI taught Aviation 2 for the first time and it was deemed a great success.
- Adult Ground School was taught for 10-11 weeks in the Spring and Fall of 2022. Students were high school students and adults from Mount Washington Valley and Western Maine. Students who successfully passed a practice exam became eligible to take the FAA Private Pilot Exam. We continue to have lots of interest in Ground School and will be offering it again in Spring 2023.
- Air Operations & Flight Training. 2022 was an exciting year for aviation training. Four students took their first solo flight. Andrew Matarese did his first solo in December 2021, followed by Noah Keefe in May and Daniel Day in August. Tyler Bartick just did his first solo this week. All student solos were witnessed by friends and family and had the traditional tail of their shirt cut off by their instructor Woody Woodruff. Several more students will be doing their first solo in 2023. In August 2022, we purchased our second C 150M training aircraft, N45375, in order to have a second plane available for solo student cross country flights.
- The Grumman Restoration Project had a very successful year in 2022. Every Saturday starting in January, 4-6 students and adults worked to remove the wings, horizontal and vertical stabilizer, seats and interior finishes, windshields and landing gear. The engine was test run before removal. Most of the fuselage paint has been stripped and it is near ready for paint. During 2023, we’ll begin reconstruction and rebuild the engine with many new parts including interior, plexiglass, radios, wing spar and a paint scheme. We hope the aircraft will be airworthy by the end of 2023. Special thanks to Board Member Glenn Mori for heading up the project.
- New Hangar Home for the Academy. Just before Thanksgiving a third-party LLC purchased three enclosed hangars in the “blue condo hangar” building. This will become the permanent home for our aircraft and air operations. We’ll continue to use the Academy Classroom in the 1961 Maintenance Hangar for meetings and Ground School. Sometime in the future we hope to have our own training building on Lyman Drive near the air operations hangar. Planning will begin in 2023.
- Finally, this year we continued to raise money toward the purchase of our new training aircraft a Vashon Ranger. Delivery is planned for spring 2023. Thanks to local foundations we’ve raised $50,000 toward the purchase. This plane visited during Aviation Day in August. Our students and instructors got a test fly it and they are anxious to receive ours. We’ll continue to raise money during 2023 to cover the purchase price of $150,000 since having no debit is key to our success.
- During 2023, we plan to introduce more programs for our Adult Academy Members starting with a program and book signing on January 25th by Mary Build, a local renowned sea plane instructor and pilot. May is known as a great speaker and she has quite a story to tell!