June 20, 2018

ENMU-Roswell held its second annual Aviation Camp June 11-13. The camp was designed to introduce high school students to the career opportunities in aviation. On Monday the campers started with Don Armstrong from the Walker Air Museum and heard about the rich history of aviation in Roswell followed by an introduction to aerodynamics by Dr. Peter Dittmer. Mike Lanfor and Jenna Secrist with AirPlay Media talked about the exploding opportunities in unmanned aerial systems and let the campers fly a drone! Then they got their hands dirty with Stephen Miller from the ENMU-Roswell Aviation Maintenance program as they completed a sheet metal project.

On Tuesday they watched air traffic from a controller’s point of view at the FAA tower with Michael Gregory, toured the airport with Scott Stark, and learned the ins and outs of the MRO (Maintenance Repair Overhaul) business by touring Aerosale with Dusty Gonzales, listening to a lecture by Gabriel Cordero from CAVU, while being guided between locations by Tammy Mulcahy from Stewart industries.

The pinnacle of the camp experience also happened on Tuesday. Following a ramp briefing by Dan Vengen and Craig Patterson from the FAA, and an orientation flight in the ENMU-Roswell full motion flight simulator with Bryan Liebig, each student burned their share of aviation gas donated by AVFlight as they flew a Cessna 172 or Piper Archer around the Roswell skies with flight instructor Dr. Peter Dittmer. The air time is recognized by the FAA as their “discovery flight” since it was under the guidance of a certified flight instructor and is the first entry in each camper’s log book. To wrap up the afternoon, Captain Thomas Altruda, a pilot from Southwest Airlines, talked about the unlimited opportunities in the airline industry and brought LOTS of SWA peanuts.

On Wednesday, the camper’s started their day with Charlee Merchant as she demonstrated her family’s hot air balloon and talked about the national airspace and the role of ballooning in aviation. The campers then went to the Tri-State CareFlight hanger where they were welcomed by the air ambulance crews. Campers got to hear first-hand how to enter that occupation and got to climb aboard the sleek fixed-wing and rotor-wing air ambulances. They went back to ENMU-Roswell to wrap up the morning with Army Staff Sargent Eric Hover who talked about aviation careers in the military. The camp concluded with a graduation ceremony where campers received a camp photo, a certificate of completion, and their first official pilot’s log book while family and friends cheered them on.

A special thanks to Vickie Thomas, Lyle Lane, Jenna Secrist, and the entire ENMU-Roswell crew for providing this opportunity to the youth in the Roswell area. Plans are already underway for the 3rd Annual Aviation Camp scheduled for the same week next year.