HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — What do you do with an old, unused, large aircraft? Turn it into an interactive classroom!
The Hill Aerospace Museum and Aerospace Heritage Foundation have come up with a new and exciting way to promote the museum and U.S. Air Force, as well as provide interactive experiments and education to visitors and local schools’ STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs.
The plan is to take an old C-130 aircraft from storage, strip it down, refurbish it, and then connect it to the outside of the museum’s second gallery, where it will become a permanent part of the Lt. Gen. Marc C. Reynolds Aerospace Center for Education.
Aaron Clark, Hill AFB museum director, talked about the project.
“The project will be completed in three phases,” he said. “Step one was to put new tires on the aircraft, then relocate it from the storage grounds behind the museum to a staging area for disassembly and preparation. Step two will be the removal of the wings and tail, then the remaining aircraft fuselage will be sealed. The third phase will be moving it to the final permanent location foundation structure, where it will be affixed to the side of the building, via breezeway, just outside the recently opened General Reynolds training facility.”
Once attached, the new classroom will be painted and outfitted with heating, ventilation and air conditioning, after which it will become the museum’s fifth interactive classroom.
Mark Standing, the museum’s director of education, believes the classroom will allow visitors to do more than simply view the museum’s many static aircraft and exhibits on display.
“Often times we hear visitors say, ‘We come to the museum but we never get to see the inside of an airplane,’” he said, “and now we will be able to say, ‘Come on in!’”
Standing emphasized the aircraft’s educational purpose as well as the multiple roles and uses this new and unique classroom will provide.
“Beyond this being just a display that allows children to climb into the cockpit, it will also be used as an interactive classroom, and not just as a playground,” he said. “We will have scheduled times that teach lessons integrated with STEM and relating to aerospace, as well as hold scientific experiments and competitions, all in the bay of an actual aircraft. It will be a completely hands-on experience for the children (and) have a lot multiple uses and purposes. I’m really looking forward to its completion.”