NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — A few Craven County educators spread their wings on Tuesday and took flight to further their knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) principles.

Three aerospace education members took their first teacher orientation flight, getting the experience of a pilot. 

“I’m most excited to share the experience,” said Assistant Principal of HJ McDonald Middle School, Rachael Gliniak. “And to see what other students might end up wanting to learn more about it.”

The Civil Air Patrol Program makes STEM materials available to teachers for their students.

“When I signed up for this, it was mostly just to get STEM kits and robots for our team, the district team to make more STEM kits for the schools to check out,” said Chantel Fortescue, District Instructional Technology facilitator for Craven County Schools. “And I’m getting an email asking me to go on an airplane.”

The teachers also got hands-on experience with how it is used in aviation.

“Actually applying the textbook knowledge and actually getting to feel it like ‘oh, if I push the stick this way, the nose goes down. If I pull it, it comes up’,” said Lt. Col. April Wimmer, ROTC instructor at West Craven High School. “So I like me actually using all my senses, being able to experience what we teach in the classroom.”

The opportunity also gave them an overhead view of their home bases.

“I navigated out to the school and flew around the school and coming back in and we were coming into the landing he let me fly until I got nervous. And then he took over,” said Wimmer.

The teachers added that they’re eager to get more educators involved in the program. To learn more, click here.