be in an F-18, I’ll rest assured.”
Both my sons recently attended a week long camp at the National Flight Academy in Pensacola, Florida. I’m a huge fan of the Blue Angels, and The National Museum of Naval Aviation has always been a favorite place to visit for our family. From our home in Fairhope, the museum is only an hour drive to the east.
The National Flight Academy, is located adjacent to The National Naval Aviation Museum and opened in 2011. Students in grades 7-12 spend an intense week aboard “The Ambition,” a 100,000 square foot, four story aircraft carrier simulator. Walt Disney World Imagineers contributed to the overall feel of realism that even includes the sound of seagulls as you board the gangplank. “Ready rooms” full of high tech equipment, cabins with real military style bunks, mess hall and flight simulators are all used to give the students the feel of an authentic naval aviation experience at sea.
Funded by donations through the The National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation (no tax money), the program is designed to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and has attendees from all over the world. There were several students from Germany in one group, and they were expecting another group of students from Ireland the next week. This summer will produce twelve weeks of camp, with each camp facilitating approximately ninety students.
During the school year, The Ambition is host to adult groups. How fun is that?
I was worried one son wouldn’t like the math portion of the camp, so I conveniently forgot to mention that would be part of the week. But when he graduated and received his “wings,” he proudly showed us his flight log where he had calculated pages and pages of his air speed, fuel capacity, distance, etc . . . “Wow, you did a lot of math!” I commented. His practical response (that all math teachers need to remember) was, “Mom, it’s easy when it makes sense!”
Although the Blue Angels are currently grounded due to government budget cuts (don’t get me started) the students were still able to spend an entire morning talking to the Blue Angel pilots and tour their facilities and actual planes. *(written in 2013)
At the end of the week, the AXP’s received an “emergency message” regarding a terrible cruise ship accident in the Gulf. The well trained pilots sprang into action and manned their stations, each young pilot taking a turn to rescue stranded passengers from the violent waves. Thankfully, no one was lost at sea.
We brought home two confident, happy pilots and celebrated their achievements of rescuing lives at sea by eating popcorn and watching Top Gun.
[…] few years ago, I told you about the week-long National Flight Academy (HERE) both boys attended. It was awesome and a perfect prerequisite for what this new course will […]
I love your post! It’s a great camp! I have a post this week on my Granddaughters participation at the National Cadet Competition. It’s through the Civil Air Patrol connected to the USAF. We loved seeing and meeting wonderful kids who have a purpose in life.
Thanks for sharing. My daughter is at the camp this week and is so excited!
I am so sad… and MAD… that we have lost the Blue Angels! We will occasionally see them fly over the gulf as they get in their required air time.
We love spending time at the air museum!
What an excellent camp. Maybe if I had sent CC she would have felt different about math. Confidence with math is so important.
Awesome!!!!!!!!!!! So cool. When we were at Fort Morgan 2 fighter jets were flying overhead. We just assumed they were the Blue Angels. What a sound!
I’m sure that will be an experience your boys will never forget! I grew up in Pensacola & have so many memories as a little girl entering the Naval base there with my Granddaddy, always intrigued by the salutes given to him.
Impressive! What an amazing place. Good story.
Wow- What a truly wonderful experience for your boys. My youngest son is a pilot and he loves flying. It is so sad that they have cancelled any military from the air shows this year- xo Diana
This is so cool, I had no idea about the camp ~ it sounds fantastic! We sure missed the Blues this year on the 4th – the excitment and pride when they come down the beach parting the water is never forgotten!