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Local schoolchildren explore air travel at School of Aeronautics

Approximately 70 students from Sheffield Elementary School visited Liberty University’s School of Aeronautics on Friday, Oct. 31, for a firsthand look at aircraft and flight simulators.

“Liberty is really treating us well and they rearranged their schedules just to get us in the building today,” said Lisa Lee, Sheffield Elementary School assistant principal. “They are all on board and treating our kids like royalty.”

According to Lee, the students were able to pair the hands-on experience they gained at Liberty to their science curriculum covering forces of motion.

“It opens their eyes to further their education,” Lee said. "It gives them connection to something meaningful.”

Students from the School of Aeronautics’ Aviation Leadership class prepared the field trip for the three Sheffield fourth-grade groups as a class project.

“It was not just about learning leadership traits but putting them into practice,” said Jim Molloy, School of Aeronautics dean. “They have to work as a group to coordinate something and then bring this whole thing together to make sure it happens. I think it’s a great transfer of skills for when they go out into the professional world.”

The fourth-graders were split into groups to visit three stations, including aircraft displays, a flight simulator, and a video presentation. Outside of a Freedom Aviation hangar, two aircraft, including Liberty’s landmark Cessna Skyhawk, were on display for students to climb inside and explore. Inside the School of Aeronautics' Aviation Academic Center, the students were able to sit inside a flight simulator as well as watch a video about life as an airline pilot.

The Aviation Leadership class has previously helped Sheffield Elementary School with other projects such as canned food drives. Molloy recently drafted an official partnership agreement between Liberty’s School of Aeronautics and Sheffield Elementary School. The agreement will be signed Nov. 12 and will allow the School of Aeronautics more opportunities to provide hands-on experiences for Sheffield students.