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Connecticut ACE Academies

illustration of a group of kids learning how to do a fuel inspection

In its 7th year, the ACE Academies held at Connecticut's Groton/New London Airport hosted a total of 25 students for 2 week-long programs filled with an array of aviation experiences. Students began the week with pre-engineering activities, building and testing free flight rubber band-powered models, and learning about aeronautical science and history.

The ACE Academies provided students with a variety of tours, covering many aspects of the aviation industry. New to this summer's program, students had the opportunity to see aerospace component manufacturing facilities in Connecticut. Their stereotypical image of a factory was modified as the students watched robots and laser cutters operating in a metal fabrication plant with the help of CAD drawings.

Other field trips included a tour of the Hartford Jet Center, the FBO at Hartford/Brainard airport, and inside the ATC tower. Students toured Chester Airport where they met technicians from Stellar Avionics and observed analog and glass cockpit control panels. Within walking distance of the airport, they visited Survival Systems where the students were lucky to watch how pilots train to egress from a plane downed in water.

Among guest presenters were United Airlines and American Airlines pilots, National Guard pilots, flight safety inspectors, flight lesson instructors, and the Civil Air Patrol, who informed students about other ways of expanding their aviation background. The program also hosted professional drone pilots who, after their presentation, accompanied the group to an auditorium where the students flew mini drones.

Each ACE Academy ended with a flight up the Thames River in a Cherokee Piper provided through the generosity of Coastal Airlines Flight School.

For more information about this ACE Academy, please visit

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