Jr. Aviators tour 185th

  • Published
  • By Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

A group of aspiring aviators are participating in a Jr. Pilot Summer Camp hosted by the MidAmerica Museum of Aviation at the Sioux City, Iowa airport this week. As part of the activities the group also toured the nearby Iowa Air National Guard facility on Friday.

During their visit the group of around 20, middle schoolers toured a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft in the 185th Air Refueling Wing’s maintenance hangar.

Air National Guard aircraft maintainers and air crew were on hand to guide the group on a tour of one of the unit’s KC-135 air refueling aircraft.

The group walked around the outside of the large airplane, where they got an up-close look at the boom extension at the rear of the aircraft.

While outside the aircraft the group stood inside the landing gear hull next to wheels nearly as large as them. As the maintainers describe the mechanics of the aircraft each student also took turns going through the inside of the Stratotanker.

Each student was eager to sit in the cockpit and take their turn lying on their stomachs in the boom pod in the back of the aircraft, while also collecting autographs from the Airmen along the way.

According to event director Pam Mickelson, the Jr. Pilot Camp was created to introduce young people to the variety of careers available in aviation.

“Just getting them out of the schools and seeing what Sioux City has in the aviation community is eye opening,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson said the camp is for students entering or just completing 6th through 12th grade and includes hands on pilot training and airfield orientation.

The museum hosted 6th and 7th graders on June 20 and 21. The two-day camp also ran on June 13 and 14 for high school age students.

The camp is described as an immersive mini ground school and pilot experience.  Mickelson said the camp included flight basics, cross country plotting, communications used in aviation, airport operations, and included a Discovery Flight in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the 185th Air Refueling Wing, the Iowa Air National Guard, the United States Air Force or the Department of Defense of the external website, or information, products, or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Services/Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sites, the United States Air Force does not exercise editorial control over the information users may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of the website.