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Sameer Romani shows you how to suit up

Sameer takes a selfie with mentors John Hornibrook (left) and Coleman Boettger (Right)
Photo Courtesy of: Sameer Romani

We all know senior Sameer Romani, if not by name, but by his attire. A suit. Every day. But Sameer dresses to impress, and he impresses a lot of powerful people.

“The mentors I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with range from all aspects of the industry,” said Romani. “I’ve met with international airline captains to Fortune 500 CEOs,” says Romani.

Most of Romani’s mentors share one thing in common.

“Just about all of them have a very strong influence in the world of modern aviation,” said Romani. “However, the most fundamental thing they all share in common is they’ve been humble and kind enough to mentor me.”

Throughout his four years at RAHS, Romani has met some very interesting people because of his networking skills.

“One of the most interesting would have to be either James Raisbeck or Ray Conner,” said Romani. “Dr. Raisbeck’s story is nothing short of impeccable; his dedication to engineering, his journey of entrepreneurship and leadership has been most inspiring and is worth hearing if the chance ever presents itself.”

Romani is also learning valuable life lessons from people who have come from nothing and rose to incredibly high positions.  

“Mr. Conner’s story is virtually unheard of,” said Romani. “From starting at The Boeing Company as a line mechanic to retiring as the corporation’s Vice Chairman, I was floored by the path his career has taken.”

Romani has weekly meetings with different mentors. Most recently, Romani met with John Hornibrook and Coleman Boettger. They discussed life in general, and Romani’s plans for after high school.

Coleman Boettger has been an Alaska Airlines captain for over 20 years. He currently teaches the Aeronautical Science Pathway program at the Museum of Flight, which Sameer is now a graduate of.  

“[My] overall opinion of Sameer’s networking skills is [that it is] outstanding,” said Botteger. “He has placed himself around a lot of Very Important People (VIPs).”

Aside from his mentoring prowess, Romani also tries hard as a student, and is also very strong academically. He is an “outstanding A+” student according to Boettger, and thinks all students can learn from him.

“Start by networking with Sameer,” said Botteger. “Have him as your teacher. There is no one better. I’m sure it has and will serve him well, like the VIP’s he has followed.”

Boettger is sure that the skills and connections Romani has built up over his four years in RAHS will give him an edge up in the real world. He also believes that these skills are valuable for future jobs.

“I’m sure the future has him one day as a VIP, CEO, [or] COO of a large company,” said Boettger.

Romani has a very easy way of making connections; he likes to establish the first contact. Mostly, he connects with prospective mentors online, but he sometimes meets them in person.

“To get mentors, I either send them an email or connect with them on LinkedIn,” said Romani. “On occasions, I’ll have the pleasure of networking with them in person.”

Romani is able to experience a lot of exciting events due to his connections with mentors. They range from casual lunch meetings to free flights.

“I was able to tour Emirates Airlines’ HQ and meet with their Pilot Selection Manager while visiting Dubai back in July 2015. I had a seat at ‘Table 1’ the first time I went to the Pathfinder Gala,” said Romani. “I toured the Deerjet 787 BBJ, toured Boeing’s Commercial offices, got a free airplane flight, and got a lot of free lunches!”

However, Boettger is most impressed with Romani as a whole. Romani has a great variety of skills, which he tops off with a fun personality and a great sense of humor.

“Of course, I think of him already as a VGP – Very Great Person,” said Boettger.

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Museum focuses on the Vietnam War

The fuselage of a B-52 arrives in the RAHS parking lot and assembly of the plane begins.
Photo Courtesy of: Issa Meboe

In affiliation with RAHS, the Museum of Flight (MoF) is constructing another aviation exhibit near the school. By 11 Nov. 2018, Project Welcome Home (PWH), a memorial to recognize Vietnam War veterans and display a newly-renovated Boeing B-52G Bomber, will be completed and parked on the grassy lot by the parking lot. This will pair with the recently added Vietnam Divided: War Above Southeast Asia exhibit in the Museum’s Great Gallery.

Trip Switzer, the MoF’s Vice President of Development, has been overseeing the fundraising side of the project.

“This was originally an effort to restore the B-52 the Museum has had on loan from the US Air Force since 1991,” said Swtizer. “As the project evolved, and the plane needed a new home, we developed plans to place the restored B-52 in a new ‘Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park.’ This will be a site dedicated to all Vietnam veterans.”

Mark Manzo has been a Major Gifts Officer in the Development Department at the MoF for three years and is a fundraiser for PWH. His and the project committee’s work will compile numerous artifacts from the Vietnam War.

“At the center of the park will be a retired Boeing B-52G ‘Stratofortress’ that served in Operation Linebacker II in December 1972 and contributed to the release of 591 U.S. POWs,” said Manzo. “The B-52 will be joined by a bronze statue of a returning aviator, which represents our Vietnam veterans.”

Along with the plane and the statue of the aviator, specific flags of the US military will be represented, as well one for prisoners of war (POW) and those missing in action (MIA).

“Seven flags will be flown as well – US, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and the POW/MIA flag,” said Switzer. “No list of veterans – deceased or living – will be installed, though donors to the project at a specific level have the opportunity to honor a Vietnam veteran on a tribute wall that will be part of the park.”

Freshman Max Welliver, a student liaison for the project, has contributed directly to the memorial’s efforts. Before the end of the school year, he and the Museum will be showcasing their hard work with the implementation of the renovated war plane on the memorial site.

“It’s exciting to finally have all the logistics come together and have the B-52 arrive,” said Welliver. “The B-52 arrives on Sunday, June 3rd at 7:30am and Raisbeck Aviation High School students are invited to attend!”

The B-52 arrived successfully on 3 Jun. 2018, with a large audience spectating. Switzer is looking forward to seeing how the memorial will give them an opportunity to learn about the Vietnam War as well as pay their respects. He believes PWH will serve as a belated “thank you” to the Vietnam soldiers.

“We believe this will be a truly unique place,” said Switzer. “There is no memorial we know of that focuses specifically on the air combat operations in Vietnam and the staggering losses suffered. Though aircraft and those who flew them will be highlighted, we intend it to be a site to thank and honor all Vietnam veterans, particularly so many who came home to a less-than-warm welcome.”

Students specifically can gain from the memorial by recognizing the similarities between the soldiers and themselves and reflecting on their experiences.

“A lot of these people weren’t much older than RAHS students when they found themselves in unimaginable situations in Vietnam,” said Manzo. “Then, when they returned home, many never received any kind of decent recognition and haven’t in all the years since. The memorial will acknowledge their service.”

Welliver has been an asset to PWH, not only getting a unique opportunity to learn about Vietnam veterans but also to work closely with the Museum as a student representative.

“I’ve learned a lot about the B-52 and its long history of service in the US Air Force,” said Welliver. “B-52’s have been serving for over 50 years and are expected to serve for another 30 with a re-engine. That will make it one of the longest serving airplanes in the United States Air Force.”

One of the Museum’s goals for the project was to have a model of the B-52 plane on display in the museum’s new exhibit, Vietnam Divided: War Above Southeast Asia. Their request for a builder was answered by Welliver, who already makes model airplanes in his spare time.

“Since I’m a member of the local scale modeling group and apart of the Project Welcome Home Committee, I thought it would be nice to build it,” said Welliver. “The kit I was given was challenging because it was older molding, but with a lot of putty, it finally came together.”

Inspiration for PWH comes from old colleagues of Linebacker II, a division of the US Air Force and Navy that flew B-52’s in 1972.

“Project Welcome Home was born out of a 2012 reunion of the crew that flew on the B-52 that will go in the park,” said Manzo. “When they visited the plane they saw that was in desperate need of restoration. From that gathering, a committee of Vietnam veterans realized a greater purpose beyond simply restoring the aircraft.”

As the name states, the new exhibit in the Great Gallery focuses on the war above Southeast Asia that lasted from 1955-1975. While PWH’s focal points are the renovated B-52 and honoring of soldiers from the war, the new Vietnam Divided exhibit will specifically feature the aircraft used in action and delve deeper into the technology and tactics of that war.

The Museum opened the exhibit for a preview event on Thursday 24 May, 2018, two days before it opened to all members. In attendance was the MoF President and CEO Matt Hayes, who thanks the members who not only receive but contribute in some way to new features of the Museum.

“We could say that we’re doing this for them and we build things to entertain and educate,” said Hayes, “but the reality [is] they’re giving as much or more back to us by who they were, their experiences, [and] how much they care.”

More than 30 people went to the preview of the Vietnam Divided exhibit on Thursday. One attendee, Morgan Girling, an employee at Blue Origin and another model plane enthusiast, enjoyed perusing the old paraphernalia of the war.

“It is an interesting time in history that the country has spent a lot of effort trying to forget,” said Girling. “I think it’s very worthwhile that it’s remembered. People are [being] honored. [I’m] delighted to see the oral history kiosks.”

Bill Wilson, a Vietnam War veteran from the Linebacker II Air Force and Navy aerial bombing campaign, was also at the preview event, answering questions and reminiscing his service.

“The big famous part of that [Linebacker II] was the B-52’s,” said Wilson. “[We] went into North Vietnam and then bombed the crap out of it.”

Manzo has learned a significant amount about the war just from working on Project Welcome Home, and appreciates the museum and school’s help in progressing with the exhibit’s commencement.

“I’d like to say thank you to the students of RAHS who are interested in getting involved with the project and learning more about the service of our Vietnam Veterans,” said Manzo. “I’m 42 and it was my parents’ generation that fought in Vietnam. I didn’t know much about their sacrifices but, by working on this project, I’ve been learning. We welcome the students of RAHS to learn with us and to say thank you to our veterans.”

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RAHS students blown away to the Windy City

Wind team stands in front of wind tunnel at the collegiate competition in Chicago.
Photo Courtesy of: Mr. McComb

Wind Team has been a part of RAHS for almost 2 years now, gearing up for the bi-annual collegiate Wind Turbine Competition. They were unable to compete in the competition, however, because they were a high school team and not a collegiate team. That being said, the team still attended the competition in order to test their turbine and to learn more about wind energy.

RAHS junior and Wind Team member Oliver Low was still excited about attending the competition even if his team wasn’t able to compete.

“While we aren’t able to actually compete due to being a high school team,” said Low, “we are grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate our turbine in front of the collegiate competition, and show them how far our design has gone over the years.”

Over the past two years the group has done much in preparation for this competition, however this is not the first collegiate wind competition that the group has gone to. Low went to Denver, Colorado last year for a smaller competition along with many other members of the team.

“We actually went to Denver last year to demonstrate our turbine in a smaller-scale collegiate wind competition,” said Low.

The Chicago competition has been a goal of Wind Team for a long time. Junior Cooper LeComp enjoyed competing in the freshmen science KidWind project with science teacher Scott McComb, ending up going to the national KidWind competition. After this, he was inspired to go for the collegiate competition.

“Wind Team started in my freshman year when a group of us went to KidWind Nationals,” said LeComp. “We did really well, getting [1st] place, so we decided to step it up, and build a turbine to the specifications of the Collegiate Wind Competition.”

The team, with McComb as their advisor, has learned a lot; everything that the team has made has had to have been made by them. This has taught the team skills from everything from electrical engineering to aerodynamics.

“We have learned a lot,” said McComb. “I personally have learned about electrical systems, control systems, mechanical engineering, and project management. These are valuable skills to have.”

Although the team has learned a lot on their own, they couldn’t have gotten where they are without their mentors and McComb.

“The support of Mr. McComb and our mentors have led us to our success,” said LeComp. “Being able to communicate and learn from experienced individuals from industry has been very beneficial.”

McComb was the one who originally organized the team as a zero hour class for students at the school. In 2016, teams from RAHS and McComb went to the Kidwind national competition in New Orleans, Louisiana where they saw the collegiate challenge taking place at the same time.

“We saw the collegiate wind teams testing in the larger wind tunnels with their business plans,” said McComb,” and the comment then was ‘that doesn’t look so hard, we should totally do that,’ [and] so we did.”

Once the team had come back they decided to create a team for the collegiate Wind Challenge, which began in the 2016-17 school year as a part of the Pre-Engineering Technologies zero hour course.

“We came back and started a wind team,” said McComb. “We had 14 students last year, [and] we had 12 this year working to create a wind turbine to the specifications of the collegiate wind challenge.”

Because they were a group of highschoolers trying out for a collegiate challenge, McComb had to seek an invitation from the Collegiate organization to come to Chicago and take part in the event.

“We were not officially invited to Chicago until February,” said McComb. “After we won nationals, and we decided internally that we would try to compete in the collegiate wind challenge.

McComb has witnessed the team do real work to solve a real world problem and make real progress doing it.

“As a teacher, it’s always thrilling,” said McComb. “It was very very exciting, and to see the level of sophistication, and the level of thought that had gone into it. We had documentation that Oliver had prepared, and that we didn’t end up using, but knowing that we had it just, it felt like real work.”

Over the course of two years, Wind team decided to take an idea and transform it to a team of 12 people who worked hard in order to build a complex turbine and take it to a competition halfway across the country.

“The most exciting part for me was that I got watch a group of student take an idea and change it from nothing, into something sophisticated and real,” said McComb.” We can solve technological problems when we put our minds to it.”

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ASP gets its head out of the clouds

Next year, many more students will be taking off at the Museum of Flight’s free new ASP college program. Being free is just one of the reasons as to why ASP is more like… yAy-SP.
Photo By: Will Garren

Two years ago, the Museum of Flight’s education program started the Aeronautical Science Pathway (ASP), a free program allowing high school juniors and seniors with a passion to pursue a career in an aviation related field to earn up to 60 college credits. Several weeks ago, an Information Night was held following the low 2017-2018 school year enrollment numbers, and attracted over 90 people.

Sara Strasner, the Museum of Flight’s new Boeing Academy for STEM Learning Manager, was  thrilled with the success of Information Night.

“Information Night was such a huge success! We had outstanding presentations from our current students,” said Strasner, “and lots of interested prospective students and their parents as well.”

The turnout was well deserved. Over the past year, Strasner and the Museum of Flight have been busy with outreach efforts.

“This was certainly an all hands-on deck recruitment effort, but our hard work paid off,” said Strasner. “This was our largest Info Night to date.”

The program also received several commitments from prospective students, who filled out preliminary paperwork to be a part of the program.

“I’m still working with interested students to get their paperwork and district approval in place,” said Strasner, “but I would say Info Night has definitely gotten us closer to our goal of 50 students.”

ASP Lead Instructor Michael Graham also showed excitement about the amount of people who showed up, displaying even more optimism for the future of the program.

“As of right now it appears that the seats will all be filled. It is still early and a lot happens over the summer, people move, change their minds or become overwhelmed with the upcoming school year,” said Graham. “So, we’ll see but it looks very promising and I am confident that we will have two full classes.”

This is a night and day difference from several months ago. At that time, the Museum experienced difficulties in attracting prospective students, leading to much uncertainty about the future success of the program. RAHS senior and year two ASP student Hunter Whitlock was overjoyed with the turnout of guests.

“I was very surprised that the effect outreach had had,” said Whitlock. “I was only expecting 20-30 people, including parents, not enough to fill the Skyline Room.”

After giving many prospective students and parents tours through the Museum, Whitlock also stayed later in the evening to answer questions. Whitlock was thoroughly impressed with how the event went, and what this means for ASP, while also noticing a change in student demographics.

“I think that it is on a good track, I am not sure how they will keep exclusivity,” said Whitlock. “Desperation for students will make that exclusivity difficult to keep, there was not a single student from RAHS, it will become more of an MoF program than one with RAHS students. I know for certain there was not a single RAHS student there.”

Whitlock’s observation is justified; not many RAHS students seem to be interested in the new program. RAHS sophomore Anusha Gani considered attending the ASP program earlier in the year.

“I decided not to [attend ASP] as the credits wouldn’t transfer over to my major,” said Gani. “I plan to complete my bachelors in computer programming and most of the credits would be irrelevant to [that] major and therefore [would] not transfer.”

Gani’s plan, like other students, did not align with the content and end goal of the program. If Gani had chosen a career path that was more closely related to an aviation field, the likelihood of her transferring credits would be much higher, like Whitlock.

“The program definitely met and exceeded expectations,” said Whitlock. “I am on track to earn all 60 of Green River College credits, and Embry-Riddle is looking to take most if not all of my credits, so it is definitely useful even if you do not continue to Green River.”

While there were no RAHS students at the ASP Information Night, current underclassmen may change that for future classes. RAHS freshman Max Welliver is an avid aviation enthusiast and has expressed a desire to join ASP when he becomes a junior in 2019.

“Right now, I’m making sure that the ASP credits will transfer to the colleges,” said Welliver. “I know I’m interested at this point.”

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Flight by Design discovers new insights

From left to right, seniors Caden Gobat, Josh Sherbrooke, Brynne Hunt, and Sara Reyes examine a Cessna Caravan, which the ecoDemonstrator program uses to test technologies involving autonomous flight.
Photo Courtesy of: Nicole Danson

During second period on Thursday, 29 Mar. 2018, Flight by Design teacher Nikhil Joshi took his class to a Boeing facility to experience an Eco-Demonstration; a presentation by Boeing engineers about the new technologies they are trying to implement onto a FedEx owned 777.

In this Eco-Demonstration, the Flight by Design class got to visit twelve stations, which explained the ingenuitive modifications made to the Boeing plane.

“We visited about twelve stations over two hours to learn about different aspects,” said Joshi, “from collision avoidance while taxiing on the ground, to the next-generation collision avoidance system for flying in the air, to fire suppression technologies inside of the airplanes, to more efficient thrust reversers, to the use of 3D printing in order to make spare parts.”

Both Flight by Design and a part of the freshman class got to attend this eco-demonstration with the hope of learning something new.

“It was an enrichment opportunity to see a real plane, see new technologies, and find out how Boeing is looking forward to making enhancements to not just this particular plane, but using it as a test bit for fleet-wide enhancements and improvements to their product line,” said Joshi.

Senior Sara Reyes got to learn about innovative developments, including fuel that is biologically engineered, (bio)fueling her own curiosity.

“I really enjoyed how they presented technologies and instruments that they were planning on integrating on current models of planes,” said Reyes. “I also really enjoyed the presentations on the biofuel as well [because] I learned that the biofuel that Boeing has developed is more efficient for the engines and the only disadvantage to using it is that it’s a little bit more costly.”

Although the demonstration didn’t help Flight by Design students with their culminating projects (to learn more see page __), it did help Reyes imagine her future in the field.

“Honestly it didn’t relate to my project whatsoever,” said Reyes, “but you can say it did by giving me insight about the current state of the aerospace field and what it’ll be like when I enter it.”

Both students and chaperones alike, such as Vice Principal Tremain Holloway, learned not only about a field that they are interested in and passionate about, but also unique tidbits.

“The name of the airplane was Holly, and I thought it was fascinating how they named it,” said Holloway. “Because it was a Fed-Ex sponsored plane, there’s basically a drawing with all of [Fed-Ex’s] employees and [they] put their child’s name in that drawing. So they pick from that and that’s how they figure out what name the plane is going to have.”

In addition to learning new things, Holloway thought this trip would be a good opportunity to get outside the school and find potential mentors or speakers for the school.

“I know our students here are aspiring to be something like what they’re doing over there, such as eco-programs,” said Holloway, “so I thought it would be a good idea to make connections.”

Holloway, in fact, made some old connections with another group of UW students who were also attending the eco-demonstration.

“We were not the only group that was going,” said Holloway. “There were four or five different groups, and one of them was college students. We saw [alumni] Uyen Tran and a couple of other former students. It was good to see them and see what they were doing.”

However, there were drawbacks to the demonstrations, seeing as the twelve stations of modifications were squeezed into just about two hours.

“There wasn’t enough time,” said Joshi. “We were really being moved quickly from one display to another so we barely had time to ask questions.”

This whole field trip was made possible with almost no cost to the school due to the help of Boeing and freshman literature teacher Nuka Nurzhanov.

“It was really nice of Boeing to provide a bus because otherwise we probably wouldn’t have been able to do it because we were out of busses that day,” said Joshi. “Not all the kids were able to make it because they had to show up before school started to get on the bus on time, so Ms. Nurzhanov was kind enough to cover the students who couldn’t make the trip.”

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Boeing revamps internships for RAHS juniors

RAHS alumni Vee Glessner participates in a Boeing Internships during the summer of 2016.
Photo Courtesy of: Vee Glessner

For the summer of 2018, Boeing is offering 11 internships for students at RAHS who are interested in the aviation and other related fields.

Career Choices teacher Renee Olsen is helping coordinate all of these opportunities, and Boeing has increased the amount of them offered. Olsen has been very involved in the preparation for these opportunities.

“We have 11 Boeing internships offered this year, and that’s up from 7 last year, and they range from web design to chemical departments,” said Olsen. “There’s quite a wide variety of them.”

Boeing offers these jobs in areas and departments that require more attention.

“They are very similar [to previous years], but different departments can join in, so a department that has need, or sees that they can have an intern, then that department would step up,” said Olsen. “Boeing [Human Resources] goes out and puts out a message to all the departments and then they decide if they want interns.”

The interviews will decide who gets the job, so RAHS students have to prepare for that event.

“The internships’ names for the people that have applied for interviews go out [April 2], and will be posted [later that] afternoon,” said Olsen. “The interviews will be on April 16. The actual internships are going to be from June 25 to August 23.”

Not only is this incredibly helpful for the departments they would work for, but it comes with other benefits that other internships do not offer.

“These internships will be very beneficial, very helpful departments they can work in,” said Olsen. “They pay over $15.00 per hour, so they pay well and it’s all summer long meaning they get a lot of hours and experience.”

They also finish the internship with an out briefing, and people get to see what they have accomplished with Boeing.

“They do a nice out briefing, which is a presentation scheduled for August 15,” said Olsen, “so we get to go in and meet with [the students] see their work, see their management and everything they’ve been doing.”

There are some basic restraints, but overall the application process is rather simple. Olsen helps facilitate the application forms with students.

“The application process is not that difficult. They do have to do a resume, cover letter, and fill out the Boeing paperwork. There are some stipulations though,” said Olsen. “They have to be a junior, that’s Boeing’s rule, and they have to be a U.S. citizen to work at Boeing. So we have to go through security and that sort of thing. It’s a little more serious to get through that orientation than other internships offered.”

Anna Hardy is a junior from RAHS who applied and did an interview for the Boeing internships.

“The application process was not hard,” said Hardy. “All you had to do was to have a resume, a cover letter, and then fill out a little form for each job application.”

Boeing actually offered a wide variety of internships, thus appealing to many students. Hardy found her own interest in several of them.

“For mine specifically, one of them was called the P8 quality intern and there you worked on process auditing and using different skills for that purpose,” said Hardy. “There are also different jobs such as the shipside support engineer, and there were many that had to do with chemistry. And then, the other job I interviewed for was the web development [job].”

Hardy truly believes that these opportunities will benefit those who participate, and will help especially for college application.

“I am hoping to take the skills in the internship for my future career, as well as using the experience for internships to come,” said Hardy. “[It will also] help for getting into colleges, and just bettering my future.”

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SpaceX launches hope about future innovation, success in space

View of SpaceX successfully launching Falcon Heavy rocket.
Photo Courtesy Of:

On 6 Feb. 2018, RAHS students were able to view SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch by livestream, demonstrating students and faculty enthusiasm towards commercial rocketry and space exploration.

RAHS Principal Therese Tipton encouraged teachers to show the launch live during class. She believes that SpaceX has a great amount of innovation and potential for the future.

“Many years ago, it was a huge deal for space launches to be televised and for schools to show these launches to their students,” said Tipton. “It reinforced that this incredible experience of watching a man-made rocket take-off into space was seen as an inspiration – a testament to what the human mind and innovation can achieve.”

Tipton recognizes the unique aspects of the Falcon and what makes it stand out compared to previous efforts into space.

“The last heavy rocket, the Saturn V (designed to take humans to the moon), was retired in 1973,” said Tipton. “The Falcon Heavy is seen as the new wave of potential human travel into space.”

Tipton believes that these types of events, such as this launch, directly correlate with the aviation and aerospace theme of RAHS

“This launch was also a little exciting in that Elon Musk included his own payload – an ‘astronaut’ driving a Tesla!” said Tipton. “As the premier aviation and aerospace high school, we want to be able to expose students to all of the possibilities for their future, including rocket launches of this magnitude.”

Tipton is passionate about the topic of space exploration, and sees great purpose in SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket.

“Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket ever launched and it was created for the purpose of lifting ‘past the bonds of Earth’ and putting human beings and cargo onto other celestial bodies such as Mars,” said Tipton. “As the heaviest rocket ever launched, it presented a perfect opportunity to be shown via live streaming.”

Tipton is optimistic in future efforts, and is anticipating to show future SpaceX launches in class.

“We will definitely monitor future launches with the goal of having students be able to see the wonder of science and engineering at work,” said Tipton.

Sophomore student Nick Ankuta has a fascination with SpaceX and feels this launch is unique in comparison with governmental efforts in the field of space exploration. To Ankuta, these new launches have serious potential.

“This is commercial space flight, which is something that has not been the case in the past; it has always been governmental efforts,” said Ankuta, “and I feel like this is really representing the people taking charge of their interest in space flight and colonization.”

Previously, efforts such as the Apollo missions to explore space have been effectively put on hold, but now private companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are competing to succeed in the area, and the motivation is beginning to increase again.

“Space exploration is not just like some scientific [dream],” said Ankuta. “It’s something that is really coming into the world as an avenue for not only a raw scientific feat, but also logistically something we can do to better our lives.”

Sophomore student Max Mellroth saw the launch during his history class and believes that it was beneficial for students to view the launch in class, and compares the event with previous historical examples of space exploration.

“I think it is very beneficial. For example, classes of the 1960s showed the Apollo missions,” said Mellroth, “classes [during the] 1990s and 2000s showed the space shuttle missions so why shouldn’t we?”

Mellroth recognizes the significance of this particular launch and believes it has true potential for scientific development.

“This was the first launch of the Falcon Heavy which is the rocket that is supposed to take us to Mars,” said Mellroth,” so this proved that we could make it to Mars with the rockets that we have.”

Women Fly into the Museum of Flight for STEM event

On 22 and 23 Nov. 2018, the annual Women Fly event hosted by the Museum of Flight is looking to inspire youth once again by presenting various STEM-focused activities and hosting Colonel Rebecca J. Sonkiss, the keynote speaker.

The Museum’s Director of Digital Learning, Melissa Edwards, has overseen the event for the past few years and believes it gives young women in the Tukwila and surrounding community an opportunity to expand their horizons in the aerospace industry.

“This event allows young women to understand that there are a wide variety of careers in STEM fields, to meet women who are working in these fields, and to be comfortable asking questions that are gender-specific,” said Edwards.

Generally, the schedule of the event is 1. Keynote speaker, 2. Workshop A, 3. Lunch or College Fair, 4. Lunch or College Fair, and 5. Workshop B. Previously, they have hosted a large 360° dome that shows the night sky inside, a problem-solving game in which the girls must act like flight attendants and fill the food carts to account for weight, and an intensive College Fair with representatives from Washington State University, the University of Washington, and the Air Force Academy.

“The topics this year include computer coding at Alaska [Airlines], career planning and fighting imposter syndrome, and Solar System explorations!” said Edwards. “We also have a great selection of companies/colleges participating in our resource fair (including Boeing and Alaska Airlines) and I think that this will be a great opportunity for the girls to ask questions about what it is like to work for these organizations!”

Last year, RAHS sophomore Mollie Brombaugh took the opportunity to go to Women Fly, and appreciated learning from a variety of different industry personnel.

“I really liked having the opportunity to choose what you want to learn about,” said Brombaugh. “Each class, led by a professional, is very interesting yet succinct. The diversity of classes is also great, you can look into anything that interests you.”

Similar to projects at RAHS, the activities presented at the event are engaging and unique, featuring Boeing employees and focused on STEM careers.

“I really find that the hands-on workshops, which give you an opportunity to do something, are the best,” said Brombaugh. “Hands-on activities relevant to space are what I try to aim for every year.”

This year’s orator is Colonel Rebecca J. Sonkiss, a commander who graduated from the Air Force. As such, she will undoubtedly provide much inspiration for participating girls interested in aerospace.

“I think that she will bring a very unique perspective as female military commander and be able to speak not only about her career pathway, but what inspired her as a young woman to pursue it,” said Edwards. “As with all of our Women Fly speakers and workshop leaders, I know that she is excited to have the opportunity to share her knowledge and insights with the next generation.”

Because the event is focused on women, it makes sense to have a female speaker to represent the girls attending.

“We usually brainstorm a list of possible candidates with backgrounds that we feel will be inspirational and then reach out to see if they are available,” said Edwards. “Colonel Sonkiss was actually proposed by a woman who has been a previous adult participant in Women Fly and she made it possible for us to put the request in to Col. Sonkiss.”

While the numerous activities and features might sway some into the STEM fields, Brombaugh was already resolute in what she wants for her future.

“Personally, nothing at Women Fly influenced my career decisions, as I already plan on working in the space field when I enter the workforce,” said Brombaugh. “However, Women Fly does give ideas as to specific areas of aviation fields that may be interesting.”

Looking forward to attending this year’s event and seeing who is this year’s speaker, Brombaugh appreciates the level to which companies and the Museum will rise to inspire the attendees into the aviation and aerospace fields.

“Women Fly is really fun,” said Brombaugh, “and I’m glad that there are fun resources like this to promote women in STEM and aviation.”

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ACE Club gives back to the community

ACE Club prepares before placing wreaths to support veterans.
Photo Credit: Mr. Edgerton

Recently, ACE Club participated with the organization Wreaths Across America in order to give back to the community and to demonstrate kindness. It is a charity fund that helps out families of veterans that have passed away.

Sophomore and ACE Club member Alex Keller appreciates the effort put into setting up the event. Keller feels that it is for a great cause, and really cares about helping out the community. Not only this, but it even fits the overall theme of RAHS, in that it relates to aviation.

“For ACE Club, they have different branches in the military, one of which being the Air Force, which relates to aviation,” said Keller, “and so for ACE club, it allowed us to really give back to the community through aviation.”

Keller felt inspired by those working with the organization, and was really impressed with what they have done. He feels that its purpose is beneficial and supportive for veterans and their families.

“It shows how many people are super devoted to this,” said Keller, “and how many people really care about the veterans that we’ve lost, and the amount of care that goes into it.”

Wreaths Across America reinvited ACE Club because of their effort. Keller is excited to go back, and hopes they can continue to support Wreaths Across America.

Sophomore ACE Club member Bernie Jones participated in this event, and helped out. He has been a part of the club since freshman year, and continues to be apart of ACE Club, and supported Wreaths Across America with them.

“So we recently participated in Wreaths Across America,” said Jones, “which is essentially a day of remembrance of fallen veterans, and we hung wreaths on their gravestones.”

Jones appreciates that it is a charity that fits the purpose of ACE Club very well. Since the Air Force is a branch of the military that relates to aviation, it fits the theme of RAHS and specifically ACE Club.

“We’re a service club and so we really wanted to get incorporated with the veterans and different veteran organizations,” said Jones, “so this one worked out great.”

Wreaths Across America also has another factor that makes it unique compared to other events. It has a unified time dedicated across the country where it other places and schools participate simultaneously to honor veterans.

“It’s super cool because it takes place at the same time every place across the nation,” said Jones, “so for example it started here at 9:00am, and 12:00pm on the East Coast.”

It is a rather difficult as far as the requirements for the task. It is quite time consuming and ACE Club has had to put a lot of effort into making it work out.

“The biggest challenge I’d say would be picking out a new location,” said Jones, “and they’re having us map out all of the veterans, which is a lot of work, and there is still more to be done.”

ACE Club was incredibly efficient and helpful for Wreaths Across America. It is even a possibility that it could be a reoccurring event for some RAHS students to partake in.

“We have a lot of numbers so, and we’ve already started that job that I was talking about,” said Jones, “so that’s why we got reinvited.”

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2017 the safest year in aviation

Dr. Edgerton preparing for his first flight of the new year
Photo Credit: Tristina Huynh

Due to advances in aviation technology and the emphasis on aviation safety, 2017 has been the safest year for flight, with fewer commercial and private aircraft accidents than ever before.

RAHS senior and Museum of Flight docent Joshua Carver believes that improving technologies contributed to aviation safety.

“I think the hope is that with every year with new technologies coming out and becoming more refined the hope is that the direct result of that is airline and air traffic travel will become much safer as a result,” said Carver, “and I think what we are seeing is a direct result of that.”  

Dan Hrehov, a substitute teacher and retired Boeing Flight Test Engineer concurs that the increase in safety and the decrease in accidents all stem from the industry’s need to adapt to major safety dangers.

“You can look at every new safety feature of the Boeing flight deck,” said Hrehov, “and trace it back to a single or series of accidents that the National Transportation Safety Board proved that this is the cause of the accident and encouraged the FAA and the industry to come up with something — either a rule change or technological advancement that the industry can recognize and of course everybody wants that.”

Hrehov also concludes that the decrease in accidents may not have been something that was caused overnight or just in 2017, instead it is the addition of safety over time and that the aviation industry has finally reached its peak of having the most safety adjustments in the aircraft at one time.

“It is a culmination of events, the airlines are more aware of the importance of safety, like we talked about the equipment is easily adapted to and the pilot community has accepted it,” said Hrehov, “it is a fruits of the labor of the past twenty years that have incorporated this technology and proliferate it throughout the industry.”

Hrehov further espouses the increase in safety all the way from large commercial airliners to smaller civilian aircraft.

“It is a culmination of those technological advances being integrated into more and more airplanes,” said Hrehov, “even in a Cessna you can get a Cessna with a graphic map and terrain awareness.”

However despite his awareness about the newer technology Hrehov believes it wasn’t any specific event, action, or regulation that placed 2017 as the safest year in aviation.

“It is hard to tell why specifically 2017 [has been the safest year] and break it down to a year,” said Hrehov, “you have to look at the trend for the last five years and ten years. We could have a mess up tomorrow and ruin 2018’s chance of being the safest year.”

Dr. Richard Edgerton, teacher at RAHS and a certified aviator and instructor has a comparable opinion towards aviation as well.

“The fundamental question really is first of all has the accident rate declined significantly,” said Edgerton, “and I can’t tell from what I see whether the change or the trend has been truly significant over the past decade but it sure looks like it has been declining.”

Edgerton concludes that while he may not know the real reason why accidents have been decreasing, he has ideas and suspicions about why safety has been on the rise.

“That can be due to a lot of different things, it could have nothing to do with training, equipment or anything like that,” sad Edgerton, “But many different groups are emphasizing judgement and many different preparations standpoints in a focused way. The evolution of that over my flight career has been very dramatic.”

Project Welcome Home Memorial to be placed right next to RAHS

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress 59-2584 (aka Midnight Express) Restoration Project is being called “Project Welcome Home” (PWH). The project is being coordinated through the Museum of Flight (MoF) by two RAHS representatives, Freshman Max Welliver and Troy Hoehne. PWH will take residency in the grassy area in the back parking lot behind RAHS and the B52 will be the centerpiece for the Vietnam War Memorial. The memorial will additionally be composed of common tributes such statues, plaques, and short reads.  

“The plane will be joined by a statue depicting a returning aviator honoring veterans who served in all military branches between 1964 and 1975,” provided by the MoF website. “The park will also feature an exhibit about the dozens of types of planes and helicopters flown during the war.”

Welliver has devoted a lot of his time into the Project Welcome Home efforts. He has helped with the communication between RAHS and the MoF and he is building a B-52 scale model kit through the Northwest Scale Modelers that will be displayed at MoF.  

“I’m a project liaison between RAHS and [the] MoF,” said Welliver. “I’ve attended some meetings on fundraising and the project timeline and then [I] report back to the school. Working with veterans who were directly involved with this plane is really amazing. Mr. Hoehne is an awesome adviser too!”

Trip Switzer, vice president of the PWH development and MoF employee, is responsible for fundraising and project development. He is excited to see how it comes out as he has also spent several hours organizing the efforts.

“The project began as the restoration of the Museum’s B-52,” said Switzer, “and grew into a more complete effort to honor all Vietnam Veterans by making the restored B-52 the centerpiece of a ‘Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Park’ just outside of RAHS.”

Welliver became involved with the Project after learning about it on the MoF website and seeing the B-52 for the first time.

“I was looking on the Museum of Flight website and learned about Project Welcome and the B-52 restoration,” said Welliver. “Last year, I visited the MoF restoration center up in Everett and saw the B-52 from a distance. I knew I wanted to get involved, so I talked with Ms. Tipton. It will be amazing to see this iconic aircraft right next to our school every day.”

The project has been going on since 26 July 2017 and, according to Switzer, the park will be completed next fall and dedicated on Veterans Day weekend 2018.

Another contributor and RAHS Contemporary Global Issues and History of Aircraft Design teacher, Troy Hoehne, has been beneficial to the development as the RAHS-MoF liaison advisor.

“One of the students, Max Welliver, has been working on this and he’s done 99.9 percent of the effort so far,” said Hoehne. “And the principal, Mrs. Tipton, thought that it might be nice to have a staff liaison person so she asked me if I wanted to do that and I said sure, I’d be happy to.”  

Hoehne has been supportive with the process by encouraging Max Welliver even though he himself has only attended one meeting.

“I’ll be helping to coordinate things like having the whole school to be present for the dedication ceremony,” said Hoehne. “Again I cannot overemphasize how Max has done [a lot of work] and in [his own] way has contributed the most effort here.”

The informative and commemorative park will be honored by all RAHS students and civilians of the Museum but it will especially touch the hearts of the unthanked Vietnam War veterans and the loved ones of the fallen soldiers.

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