In addition to educational activities implemented by working directly with schools, the Foundation has provided a lengthy list of programs and events to advance the general public’s knowledge of innovations in aviation. A few examples illustrate the variety and quality of these offerings.
In February 2006, participants in a paper-airplane-making clinic held in the Gallery learned something about the science of flight in activities directed by Keith Varnau of the Boeing Employees’ Aerodynamic Modeling Society. The lessons were put to use in contests for the farthest flight and for accurate flying through one of the window openings in the 707 fuselage section Gallery exhibit.
Saturday August 4, 2007, was the Pratt & Whitney Day of Learning at the Future of Flight. Visitors climbed into a restored Boeing 247 airliner (celebrating the 76th anniversary of its introduction into United Airlines passenger service), viewed four F-15 fighter jets from the Mountain Home, Idaho, Air Force base, and talked with their pilots, who had recently returned from service in Afghanistan.
On June 11, 2008, the Foundation hosted a free public event where attendees learned about the first flight of a manned airplane powered by hydrogen fuel cells (electrochemical devices that convert hydrogen directly into electricity and heat with none of the by-products of combustion such as carbon dioxide; their exhaust is just heat and water).
On the night of October 27, 2010, the Future of Flight was the site of a record-setting achievement by LaserMotive (a Seattle-based developer of wireless power delivery systems) and Ascending Technologies (maker of a small “quadrocopter”). Using its battery power, at about 7:40 p.m. the craft rose to about 30 feet above the floor of the Gallery. As the craft hovered, a 200-watt infrared laser beam took over supplying electricity to it. About 12 hours later, the quadrocopter landed, setting a world record for beamed-energy-powered flight duration.
On April 22, 2011, the Foundation hosted an Earth Day celebration featuring a program on energy efficiency innovations presented by Snohomish County Public Utility District legislative liaison Brenda Smith, and a driving demonstration of the WIKISPEED SGT01 high efficiency concept car. In addition, students from Edmonds Community College’s Materials Science Technology class displayed their windmill project, Marysville Arts and Technology High School students demonstrated their solar car, and Totem Middle School students explained the results of their six-week Flights of Innovation program.
In 2011 and 2012 the Foundation presented several talks by astronauts, innovators and aviation experts. The first speaker was Heather Ross, a Boeing 787 engineering project pilot. On November 30 Jim Freeman, former director of flight standards for Alaska Airlines spoke, and on January 11, 2012, Joe Justice, team lead of the WIKISPEED project, made a presentation. In 2012 there were six events, including “Environmentally Progressive Aircraft Design” by Mithra Sankrithi, Boeing Company Product Development Chief; “Future of Inflight Connectivity” by Richard Nordstrom, Managing Director, North America OnAir; and “Living on the Leading Edge” by Capt. Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, Chief Pilot and Director of Training and Flight Service, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
On Earth Day 2012 the Foundation held a free family-friendly event, “Celebrate the Earth,” featuring the grand opening of the new interactive wind and solar energy exhibits. Visitors enjoyed activities using recycled products, local businesses provided information about environmental services, and Dr. Thomas Edwards, Director of Aeronautics, NASA Ames Research Center, spoke about environmentally responsible aviation. In May the Foundation hosted a tour by South Korea’s first astronaut, Dr. Soyeon Yi, which included presentations at the Aviation Center, two local high schools, and Everett Community College.
On June 15, 2013, the Foundation presented a NASA Destination Station event featuring astronaut Mike Foreman; Sam Scimemi, International Space Station Director; and Josh Byerly, the voice of the International Space Station. Mr. Foreman spoke about his time exploring space and living on the space station. The NASA team also visited Monroe Elementary School, one of the schools participating in the Foundation’s education program.
The Foundation’s 2014-2015 Education Planning Guide highlighted the following activities for the general public:
Family Zone – This area in the Gallery has several activities with the theme of aircraft manufacturing and assembly. Visitors can build a simple aircraft model, or use our Lego (and Lego-compatible) pieces to express new ideas about aircraft design. A kid-size airport and airplanes allow future pilots to practice their take-offs and landings. Coloring and reading activities are also available for younger visitors. The Family Zone is open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Maker Mondays – Visitors attending this program (Mondays from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m.) have the opportunity to work on their own projects, while sharing and improving their skills and benefiting from the experience of others by experimenting with 3D-modeling stations and printing their designs on a MakerBot Replicator. There is a charge for non-members of $5 per day, and printing is charged at $.90 per gram.
From April through mid-June 2015 the Foundation hosted its first traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution: “Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight.” The displays documented the efforts, challenges and triumphs of black aviators from the early 1920s through the space age. Over several days before the formal opening to the public on April 3, a number of groups had private events at the exhibition, including the United Way of Snohomish County, the African Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest with the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. Sam Bruce Chapter, the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance, the YMCA of Snohomish County, educators, travel and tourism industry professionals, and Future of Flight members, as well as current and emeritus members of the Foundation’s board of directors, staff, and volunteers. Local artist Chris Hopkins was featured with his dramatic portrayals of the Tuskegee Airmen.