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Aerospace and Aviation Day in Manitoba 2024 on May 23: A win-win for everyone

By Martin Zeilig. Photo Credit: Master Corporal Hepner


For 11-year-old Claire, a career in aviation is something that the grade six student at Niakwa Place School might consider in the not-too-distant future.

Claire and 26 other students from grades five and six at her school, along with classroom teacher, Ms. Tracey Shields, were taking part in the annual Aerospace and Aviation in Manitoba (AAiM) Day at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada on May 23.

They had just taken a tour inside a Dash 8 trainer provided by 402 “City of Winnipeg” Squadron from 17 Wing. The RCAF trains Air Combat Systems Operators and Airborne Electronic Sensor Operators in the plane. It was part of a static display on the museum’s outdoor ramp.  

“The event is for children in grade six, who study flight in their curriculum,” said Barbara Bowen, the director of special programs at Manitoba Aerospace—the organizer of AAiM Day.

“This gets the students and the teachers out of their classroom where they actually see aircraft. It’s a hands on activity. They’re here for just over two hours. They do six hands on activities related to aviation and aerospace. Then, we do the same thing again in the afternoon.”

She added that anywhere from 700-760 students from both city and rural schools participate in the event.

Ms. Bowen pointed out that Manitoba’s major aviation and aerospace companies were at the AAiM Day: Boeing was doing activities about composite manufacturing; Magellan had students transfixed with a discussion and video on rockets; Standard Aero representatives discussed aircraft maintenance.

“Some of the smaller companies are here too and do similar things,” Ms. Bowen said.

She also praised Barker College and 402 Sqdn, and 17 Wing in general, for their participation in the day.

Barker College had a presentation on “space activity.”

Captain Colin Brewster, an instructor at Barker College for the Air Operations Department, was standing outside by the Dash 8. He was with seven other colleagues from 402 Sqdn and Barker College.

He noted that most of the students seemed to be enjoying themselves.

“For some of them it’s the first time they’ve ever been inside an airplane,” he said.

“This is fantastic for the kids. It exposes them to different types of things that aerospace and aviation can do. It’s more of a hands’ on experience for them than just staying in the classroom.”

Ms. Shields said that AAiM Day was “wonderfully” organized.

“It’s given the students an opportunity to do hands on learning,” she stressed.

“They’re having a wonderful time and are able to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in real life. We were lucky to be chosen to come and experience this.”

 Meanwhile, Ms. Bowen observed that quite a few students, who have participated in previous AAiM Days, have gone on to fulfilling careers in the aviation industry.

“Aerospace and aviation are very strong to the economic life of Manitoba,” she said.

“We’ve been identified by the provincial government as one of the leading industries. Giving back to the community is high.”

She also praised the museum for their continuing support of AAiM Day.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved.



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