A few students got to touch the sky for the first time thanks to the Langston Centre’s summer programming.

Several Langston Centre students were given the opportunity to fly in a Cessna 172 airplane as part of the summer camp, “Oh the Places We Will Go … But First, Check the Weather.”

During the camp, students are taught about geography and weather, as well as space and the future of space exploration.

“The entire time they’re there we have a lot of engaging activities for them, so not only are they flying, but they’re going to learn the ins and outs of why does an airplane fly,” said Amber Orlikowski, an instructor at the Langston Centre.

The students were split into two groups on Monday and Tuesday and taken up three at a time in the plane. Seven students total flew on Monday, and for many of them, being in an airplane was a whole new experience.

“So part of what we do is letting some kids experience things that they might not otherwise experience, such as flying on an airplane,” said Orlikowski. “So for a few of the kids this week, it’s their first time ever on an airplane, and that’s really exciting.”

During the flight, pilot Bill Powley performed two tricks to help students understand gravity while flying.

“We did a zero-g where you’re weightless,” said Powley. “Obviously you’re strapped in, but if you were not strapped in, you would be floating around in there and the other things that are in there like the bags and all float. And then we did a two-g, so now you weigh twice as much as normal.”

Alongside the flight, students will complete a variety of activities throughout the week, such as building a clock kite, making a compass and creating paper airplanes.

“Just a lot of really fun activities for the kids,” said Orlikowski. “I’m excited about the make a compass one, personally.”

Powley, who has been taking children up in the air with the Langston Centre and other organizations for nearly 30 years during programs like this, said the children’s reactions say it all.

“It’s hard to walk away from when the kid gets out of the airplane and says, ‘This is the neatest thing I’ve ever done in my life,’” said Powley.

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