More than 600 public school sixth graders on Kaua‘i will learn about the science behind aviation when members of Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Barnstorming Program travel to Kaua‘i for the first time, from Nov. 12 to 19.
“We are very fortunate to have Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Barnstorming Program available for our sixth grade students at no charge to the Department of Education,” said Bill Arakaki, Complex Area Superintendent of Kaua‘i’s public schools.
The term “barnstorming” refers to a style of stunt piloting that was performed in the 1920s to showcase pilots’ skills and the sturdiness of the planes they flew.
Pacific Aviation Museum’s Barnstorming Program was developed in 2010 by staff at the museum in collaboration with educators and science advisors from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.
Since its inception, the program has reached more than 18,000 sixth graders in their classrooms on O‘ahu and Maui. For Kaua‘i, this will be the first time.
“Students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle, Kapa‘a Middle, Waimea Canyon Middle, Hanalei Elementary and Kilauea Elementary will be treated to an aviation-related STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic) program that is designed to keep the students engaged,” Arakaki said.
The 90-minute curriculum is aligned to the Hawaii State Content Standards and uses:
- Table-top experiments where students are introduced to the two most important concepts in the science of aviation – Newton’s Third Law of Motion and Bernoulli’s Principle;
- A portable wind tunnel that allows students to manipulate an airfoil inside a working wind tunnel via remote control. Students see the effects that airflow have on a wing, and how different velocities of the airstream can change a wing’s reaction to their controller inputs. Students discover how scientists and engineers use wind tunnels to design and test objects people use daily, from aircraft and cars, to homes; and
- A P-40 flight simulator that serves as the culmination of the Barnstorming experience, where after learning the basic concepts through table-top experiments and the wind tunnel, students operate a flying machine. The flight simulator allows students to operate the control surfaces (rudder, elevators and ailerons) that they learned about in the initial presentation, and decide what stick or pedal inputs they will need to obtain their desired movements. Student aviators fly the P-40 through several scenarios, including takeoff, landing, basic control familiarization, as well as pursuit and dogfight maneuvers.
Costs incurred to bring the program and equipment to Kaua‘i is being underwritten by a $15,000 grant from G.N. Wilcox Trust.
“We thank Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Barnstorming crew, its coordinators and G.N. Wilcox Trust for this great partnership with our Kauai public schools,” Arakaki said.
Shauna Tonkin, the museum’s director of education, said aviation play an important role in our everyday lives, from an economic and social point of view to protecting the nation from harm.
“Our Barnstorming Program is designed to incorporate all elements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through interesting and hands-on activities that not only help students understand the scientific principles of flight, but also introduces aviation and aeronautical engineering as a viable career,” she said. “We hope to continue taking this program on the road to students throughout Hawai‘i. Our ability to do this is based on the generous support we receive from businesses and foundations, such as G.N. Wilcox Trust.”
Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on Historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in The Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history.