Youth aviation group takes flight

TOUR TAKEN — Chris Mockbee, second from right, and his son Sam posed with the crew of STAT MedEvac during the Aviation Explorer Post 787’s tour at its February meeting. -- Contributed

TOUR TAKEN — Chris Mockbee, second from right, and his son Sam posed with the crew of STAT MedEvac during the Aviation Explorer Post 787’s tour at its February meeting. -- Contributed

WINTERSVILLE — Aviation Explorer Post 787 enjoyed “a nice turnout” for its first meeting of 2017, which was held Feb. 25 at the Jefferson County Airport terminal building in Wintersville.

“We spent the first part of our meeting talking with several new members and their friends and parents about our group and what we’re all about,” explained Dan Otto of Wellsburg, who is the adviser of the newly organized Ohio Valley-based, volunteer nonprofit aviation organization.

Its goal is to inspire and educate young men and women ages 14 to 20 about the variety of career opportunities available in the field of aviation.

Monthly meetings are being held at the Jefferson County Airport terminal building in Wintersville on the fourth Saturday of the month, beginning at 9 a.m. The annual cost is $30 to participate, which helps cover insurance costs, according to Otto. The organization is a division of the Two Chiefs District, Ohio River Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America, but potential participants don’t have to be in the Scouting program, and participation doesn’t involve earning patches or merit badges.

“After the info session, we got a tour of the STAT MedEvac helicopter and crew facility at the Jefferson County Airport,” Otto said of the events of February’s meeting. “We greatly appreciate the time taken by STAT’s crew and pilots to talk to our members and answer questions on a one-on-one basis. They were even gracious enough to allow some of us to sit in the helicopter pilot’s seat,” he said.

“After we saw STAT MedEvac, we ended our meeting in the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) hanger at Jefferson County Airport where we gave everyone a brief demonstration of all the flight control surfaces on an actual airplane,” he continued.

Otto said the next meeting will be held Saturday at the Wheeling Ohio County Airport, beginning at 1 p.m.

“We will tour the air traffic control tower and the West Virginia National Guard facility where several Black Hawk helicopters are based,” he said. “Any new members are welcome to attend. We always are open to new members and our yearly membership fee of $30 is pro-rated so as the year progresses, the membership fee decreases.”

A full schedule of events and other information about Aviation Explorer Post 787 is available on the organization’s website at aep787.com or e-mail aviationexplorerpost787@gmail.com.

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