Aucoin: St. John Aviation Awareness Day gets bigger, better in Year 2

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, June 6, 2018

For the second year in a row, the Port of South Louisiana and the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport were pleased to host the “St. John the Baptist Parish Aviation Awareness Day” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 5.

Though the skies threatened drizzle and rain, the day was another outstanding success. The weather cooperated, and volunteer pilots took to the skies over St. John the Baptist Parish to provide well over 100 flights to children and young adults, introducing them to the excitement of flying.

This event, sponsored by “Guys Achieving Goals,” a local, Louisiana non-profit organization, introduced many special participants, including the flight line, static displays by the Ochsner Flight Care and the United States Coast Guard helicopters.

Numerous volunteers from businesses and industries throughout the parish offered food and support to make the event a memorable one for many first time flyers. And once again, the Port of South Louisiana was happy to provide the Executive Regional Airport to the organizer for this function.

On the day of this event there was lots of excitement and activity on the airport grounds, including the presence of young children and adults, some of whom experienced their first exposure to aircraft and aviation subjects.

The participating aircraft could be seen flying across Airline Highway and around the air traffic pattern above the airport, thrilling everyone on the ground waiting to take their turn in the air.

Exposure to operating aircraft offers young minds many different possibilities, not the least of which is to consider options for careers as elementary and high school years come to an end and college opportunities present themselves. The aviation field offers a large variety of jobs in multiple academic disciplines and career paths.

I like to remind students that every science, from chemistry to physics and beyond, impacts the ability to achieve human flight. Engineering and mathematics build upon these studies and are foundations for discovery of new processes, not the least of which can be new designs for aircraft and the systems that support flight such as navigation systems, satellites and avionics. After an exciting first flight, pursuit of dreams awaits.

From these short, though very memorable minutes in the air, a wonderful introduction awaits a young person determined to be a success, be it in aviation or other careers of their choice.

In this case, the first step to appreciating aviation begins with experiencing how aircraft maneuver in the air and how pilots learn the discipline of controlling these machines against four principal physical forces: gravity (or weight), drag, thrust and lift.

The second step is to discover the subjects that allow young persons to learn about these principal forces.

The third is to understand that education opens the door to an exciting lifetime career.

The Port of South Louisiana staff thanks the St. John the Baptist Parish community, our civic leadership, the volunteers, the participants and of course, “Guys Achieving Goals,” for another great success!

Paul Aucoin is executive director of the Port of South Louisiana. For more information, call 985-652-9278.