El Paso students "Cleared for Take-Off" in spite of canceled Amigo Airsho

El Paso students

POSTED: Friday, October 18, 2013 - 4:37pm

UPDATED: Friday, October 18, 2013 - 4:39pm

Usually around this time of year, El Pasoans would be gearing up for the annual Amigo Airsho on Fort Bliss.  However, the show was grounded earlier this year because of federal budget cuts. 

The Amigo Airsho will be back in 2014 at the Santa Teresa Airport.  Until then, about 2500 area fifth graders took part in the "Cleared for Take-Off" program at the War Eagles Air Museum in Santa Teresa.  The program teaches students about what it takes to work in the field of aviation, and the importance of math and science in aviation technology.

Volunteer pilots took aviation into the classroom at 16 elementary schools, and on Friday the students got a hands-on look at some of the aircrafts and equipment they learned about.

"They're tying the visit with the pictures, photographs and the videos to the real things these airplanes, these jets," said Micaela Bean, a fifth grade teacher at Deanna Davenport Elementary in Canutillo.

One of the most popular booths was the unmanned aircraft simulation, or drones.  Dennis Zaklan, Deputy Director of the Unmanned Aircraft Flight Test Center at NMSU set up the display.  He said it's important to get kids interested in the possibility of working with drones.

"When we think about the future, the unmanned aircraft are the future of aviation, and the children are the future of society. They are going to be the ones that take this new technology to a much higher level," said Zaklan.

The 2014 Amigo Airsho will be held in October, but the exact dates have not been finalized.  A decision is expected in December.

It's expected to be a smaller show since the Santa Teresa Airport will only hold crowds of 25,000-30,000 people.  Approximately 80,000 people attended last year's show on Fort Bliss.

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