TOP Flight: Craven County teachers fly planes

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – Craven County educators spent Tuesday in small passenger planes as they flew across parts of the east with funding from the Aerospace Education Members.

The goal of AEM and the Teacher Orientation Program or “TOP” Flight is to help teachers learn more about aviation and how STEM principles are utilized throughout the flight so they can share the excitement with their students.

Through the AEM program, educators have access to free aerospace and STEM opportunities and resources for ages K-12. This includes curriculum materials, STEM Kits, and flights.

“Through the Civil Air Patrol program one of the things that they really encourage is for all educators to sign up for a TOP flight which is a Teacher Orientation Program flight so we get to go in the airplane and we get to share the experience with other students in our buildings,” said H.J. MacDonald Middle School Assistant Principal Racheal Gliniak.

During their flights, the teachers were able to fly over West Craven High School and H.J. MacDonald Middle School and even speak with students through staff radio walkie-talkies.

“Seeing the school from on high and like the whole picture it just gives you a whole new perspective,” said West Craven High School aerospace instructor, Lt. Col. April Wimmer.

“There’s resources out there that will bring you opportunities you never would dream of. I signed up for this just to get some robots through a grant for school and I’m getting the e-mail asking me to go on an airplane,” added Craven County School District Instructional Technology Facilitator, Chantel Fortescue.