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Aviation Students Visit Washington, D.C.

L-R: Graham, Grothaus, Pierce, Schattner, Smith, and Wittman

A group of six aviation students from the EKU Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) traveled to Washington D.C. November 11-13 to visit Dulles International Airport, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and the National Mall. The organization was able to secure funding for the trip through the Student Government Association which helped cover the costs of transportation and lodging during the trip.

The first stop on the trip took our group to Dulles International Airport, a major international gateway to the United States which serves more than 60,000,000 passengers each year. The tour was led by Mark Porter, an Airport Operations Duty Manager who shared numerous job experiences with the students and even some career advice. At the airport, the group was taken onto the airfield for an in-depth look at airside operations, including an airfield inspection following the departure of an Airbus A-380, the largest passenger airliner in the world. The students were also taken into the FAA control tower where controllers explained the challenges of working the airspace system around Washington and the role winter weather plays in their handling of air traffic. Up next was a trip to the Dulles ramp tower, where another group of controllers were in charge of parking aircraft as well as coordinating departures and updating flight crews with the latest weather information for their upcoming routes.

For the second half of the airport tour, students boarded a van and were taken around the airport’s boundaries to see different support facilities that ensured the safe and efficient daily operation of the airport. Stops on this part of the tour included the airport’s maintenance complex, USDA wildlife office, fuel storage facility, emergency operations center, and airport operations center.

After finishing the tour at Dulles International, the group was taken next door the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center to spend the remainder of the afternoon. Inside, students were able to view more than 170 aircraft including the famous WWII bomber Enola Gay, Space Shuttle Discovery, Boeing 707 prototype, and an Air France Concorde supersonic airliner. Students also saw exhibits focusing on early aircraft history, military aviation, air traffic control, and space exploration.

To finish the day of touring, the group headed into Washington for dinner and to visit the National Mall. Highlights of the final leg of the trip included visits to the Washington Monument, White House, World War II, Vietnam, and Korean War Memorials, and the Lincoln Memorial.

Students participating on the trip included Dustin Wittman, Trent Grothaus, Jacob Pierce, Maggie Smith, Nate Schattner, and Justin Graham. The students were accompanied by EKU Aviation faculty member and AAAE Faculty Advisor Kyle Knezevich.

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) is the world’s largest professional organization for airport executives representing more than 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations worldwide. The AAAE Student Chapter Program allows participating colleges and universities the opportunity to work with industry leadership to give students both professional and scholarship opportunities in preparation for careers in aviation management.

Published on November 14, 2016

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