Tom Betts – EAA Chapter 272 President
When we “adopted” our Aeronca Sedan project my thought was; “This is going to be a challenge, can it catch on?” Quickly, my opinion evolved to; “This is a worthy project and I want to be part of it!” As more adult mentors, youth and their parents joined the effort we saw how it was going to work and adjusted where necessary. Aeronca Sedan experts from around the region are offering advice and donating parts for the project as well. For me, it’s great to show the kids another career or hobby to consider in their future. You can’t wipe the smile off their faces.
Arron Breitkrentz – chapter member and parent/participant
Mentorship had a major impact on strengthening my aviation interests as a young adult. I enjoy providing similar opportunities for the next generation through working with a talented team of mentors on “The Spirit of Katrina” project. With diverse experiences and backgrounds ranging from general aviation pilots, professional pilots, jet engine mechanics, and those who have built their own airplanes, everyone contributes valuable perspective to the project. The dedicated team of volunteers show up weekly to eagerly and patiently share their knowledge with youth participants. I continue to be a proud part of a team which offers a unique and enriching learning opportunity for area kids. Being a mentor on the “Spirit of Katrina” project has also allowed me to share my aviation interests with my nine-year-old son, Tyler. From an early age, Tyler has shared in my enthusiasm for all things aircraft related. Exposure to the project has given him the rare freedom to get “hands on” experience with a real-world aircraft rebuild. Such exposure and experience have proven invaluable in promoting his curiosity and advancing his interests in STEM subjects. I am hopeful other participants share in an equally rewarding.
Dave Gramstrup – student participant
My love of airplanes had been there for my whole life and I was about to take it one step further by getting my hands dirty on one. I came to this program with many questions regarding my plans to become an airplane mechanic in the future. Was it right for me? Did I have a passion to work on them? What would I learn from the experience? After becoming a part of this project, the answer to all those questions is a happy and definitive yes. Since the first day I started they welcomed and guided me as I developed skills I would use while pursuing my goal of becoming an A&P mechanic. The mentors keep you engaged and focused on learning so much that before you know it it’s time to head home with another work session completed. So, whether you’re interested in historic planes or just want to get your hands dirty, join the Aeronca Sedan project!
Jon Thro - student participant
Working on the Aeronca Sedan project has been a great experience. This project offers a unique opportunity where I get to work on something that may eventually fly. I love that I get to use tools, learn skills that I’ve never used before, and continue to increase my knowledge about aviation. The pilots at these work sessions have been really helpful, kind, and willing to teach valuable skills. It's amazing to think that one day my contributions to this aircraft might be flying around in the sky. One of my bigger hopes is that one day I can become a pilot and maybe even fly this aircraft.
Autumn W. – student participant
My name is Autumn W., I have been part of the sedan project for about 6 months. I first heard of the sedan project when I went to the Superior Airport to take an airplane ride as a Young Eagle. When I was told about the sedan project I got very excited even though I really didn’t have too much interest in building airplanes. I have wanted to be a pilot for almost 8 years, and I realized that if I participated in the sedan project, I could learn a lot more about planes, and perhaps fly more. That is why I joined the project. Since I started working on the sedan, I have learned so much about the airplanes I want to fly, and I have learned many problem-solving skills. These can benefit me in many ways, now and in the future. I believe that participating in the sedan project will help me in life and I have no regrets in participating.
Denise LaGraves – parent of two participants
I have two children involved with the Spirit of Katrina Sedan project; one who has loved airplanes since he knew what one was and has loved figuring out how things work and another who just wanted to try something new.
My son has loved every minute he has gone to 'airplanes'. He has developed a friendship with a mentor who has had the patience to answer all of a 8 year old’s questions and helped him be comfortable in engaging in conversation and fulfilling his need to learn.
My daughter had been coming with to drop her little brother off; one day I asked if she would like to join in and she got wide eyed and said 'yes!' She has loved learning about new tools that she says she 'would never have learned about' had she not started working on this project. She has had a concentration while working that she doesn't normally display on other projects.
Both of my children look forward to going to theSpirit of Katrina Sedan project every week and have enjoyed sharing their experiences with not only me, but their grandparents and even their great-grandfather who, at 92, said if he were ten years younger, he would be right there next to them!
The Katrina Sedan project is a wonderful opportunity for all generations to connect, share experiences and create friendships and memories.