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Released July 24, 2002
Aero-Tech students soar to new heights
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- As a toddler, John French remembers C-5As and KC-135s flying over his home in Georgia.
The images have served as inspiration to the 12-year-old Columbian who has dreams of becoming an Air Force pilot.
French was among several students who recently participated in Aero-Tech, a five-day camp co-sponsored by Mississippi University for Women and Columbus Air Force Base.
The high-tech, hands-on program geared toward 7th-12th graders, gave participants an opportunity to meet CAFB officers, pilots and personnel. Several activities were planned including flight training, civil engineering, flight operations, handling emergencies and flight effects on the body.
"A lot of my family has been in the Air Force," French said. "I've always been interested because the planes would fly right over our house. I also like the uniforms they wear."
French already has mapped out the steps he will take in order to achieve his goal. "I want to go to ROTC in high school and college and become an officer.
I want to fly the big planes--cargoes and bombers." Fourteen-year-old Leigh Wammack of Tupelo thought Aero-Tech would be the perfect camp for her since she is planning to be a pilot in the Air Force.
"I saw the movie `Pearl Harbor,' and I thought it was real cool. I've learned a lot about airplanes--thrusts, lifts and gravity."
Josh Barnett, 14, of Biloxi added that being a pilot is "cool." Barnett, who was visiting his grandparents here in Columbus, added, "I've learned how they keep Columbus Air Force Base running and how it takes a lot more people than the pilots to keep the Air Force running."
While on campus, the students participated in activities that related their experiences at the base to the students' academic, leadership and physical lifestyles.
One morning the campers built and decorated their own soda bottle rockets. Instructor Josh Winter, a graduate student at Mississippi State University, treated them to the demonstration of a solid propellant model rocket.
"I want them to have fun making things and get them interested in science," Winter said. "There is some really cool stuff that they can learn."
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