Last week we were lucky enough to spend some time with the students of Hawaii Preparatory Academy during their theme week, “Come Fly With Me.” Students dipped their toes into the world of aviation and helicopter training. On Monday, the MLH instructors did an introductory ground class with HPA middle school students and answered questions about the basics of flight, aerodynamics, as well as aviation terminology and communication.
Senior instructor Bruno Varela explained, “the ground class was really good, the kids were so enthusiastic and entertained. …They had so many good questions that made the teaching easy.”
After the students were able to get familiar with the fundamentals of helicopters and how they work, our team of helicopter training instructors came back for another more exciting day at HPA — a fly in.
The Mauna Loa fly-in crew headed to the HPA campus on Wednesday morning. Students gathered around our two R-22s in the baseball field at the upper campus, and listened as our flight instructors demonstrated the main controls of the helicopter — cyclic, pedals, collective and throttle. Then, each student had a chance to go up in the helicopter for a real, hands-on lesson.
“The best part of this week has been getting to know other people and learning to fly the helicopter,” said sixth grader Cache Van Tassell.
But this wasn’t just a special day for the students — the Mauna Loa fly-in team was equally as thrilled with the experience…
“I could tell how excited they were for the flight day… And so was I. I believe that if I had that opportunity when I was a teenager, that would have changed my life for better,” said Varela. “I got myself into the mindset that what I was doing could actually change or model the future for one of those guys…and that’s a huge responsibility.”
“They were super receptive of the instructions I gave,” recalled Varela. “The energy in the cockpit was amazing, and their excitement from actually flying the helicopter made me feel like a superhero for one day.”
A special thank you to the students and staff of HPA who made this such a fantastic experience for all of us. We’d also like to give a big thanks to our awesome team who helped make this event happen.