Dare County Schools open Aviation Lab at Wright Brothers National Memorial

Aviation Instructor, Admiral Tynch, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac, Dare County Schools Career and Technical Education Director, Dr. Shannon Castillo, and Dare County Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight at First Flight High School’s Aviation Lab ribbon cutting located at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. (Dare County Schools photo)

Dare County Schools (DCS) and the National Park Service (NPS) announced the opening of First Flight High School’s Aviation Lab at Wright Brothers National Memorial (WBNM) during an open house on Tuesday.

Over the course of two school years, First Flight High School juniors and seniors will construct a Van’s RV-12iS aircraft, a modern two-seat all-metal side-by-side airplane, utilizing Tango Flight’s curriculum and build kit. Aviation I and Aviation II courses will introduce students to the disciplines of aerospace, electrical, mechanical, manufacturing and design engineering. Building the airplane will reinforce STEM principles and objectives of the classroom curriculum. After extensive testing and certification by the FAA, each student involved in the project will be invited to ride in the plane piloted by a Tango Flight member at WBNM’s First Flight Airport.

“We talk about providing learning options for our students all the time. A huge thank you to our Assistant Superintendent Steve Blackstock for the idea and Director of Career and Technical Education, Dr. Shannon Castillo, for making it a reality!” said Steve Basnight, superintendent, Dare County Schools. “Thanks to Superintendent Dave Hallac and the National Park Service’s willingness to join us in a “what-if” proposal. Our First Flight High School students are going to build an airplane and fly it on the same plot of land where the Wright Brothers proved it could be done. That is engaging students in real-world learning!”

“The National Park Service looks forward to partnering with Dare County Schools on this ambitious project at Wright Brothers National Memorial – site of the world’s first powered flight,” said David Hallac, superintendent, National Parks of Eastern North Carolina. “We will use this exciting opportunity to implement special programs and educational opportunities that help to tell how the Wright Brothers’ accomplishments, 120 years ago, are still responsible for the fundamental principles and technology that allows for powered, controlled flight by modern day planes.” The student-built airplane will be the first modern plane to be constructed on the WBNM grounds.

Over the next two school years, DCS and WBNM will share a series of videos on their websites and social media accounts that highlight the students’ progress as they achieve milestones in the construction of the airplane. More information can be found on WBNM’s special webpage at http://go.nps.gov/takeflight and on DCS’ website at www.daretolearn.org. The aviation laboratory is not open to the public.

About Tango Flight

Tango Flight Incorporated is a 501c3 educational non-profit corporation created to inspire the next generation of engineers, pilots, aviation mechanics and technicians. Their curriculum provides meaningful classroom learning with real hands-on training. Tango Flight’s curriculum is currently offered in 29 schools in the United States. First Flight High School is the first school in North Carolina to offer this program to its students.

The first aviation class members from First Flight High School.
The first aviation class members from First Flight High School. (Dare County Schools photo)