Our mission at Wings of Hope is changing and saving lives through the power of aviation. In the U.S., we fly individuals with serious health conditions to specialized care not available to them locally — for free and for as long as they need us. In poor communities in Africa, Central and South America, we use airplanes to fly people in remote areas to emergency medical care. We also fly doctors into communities with no local health care.
We rely on highly skilled and experienced volunteer pilots and mechanics to fly our missions and keep our planes safe. This makes the predicted pilot and mechanic shortage especially troubling to us. The 2018 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook projects that 790,000 new civil aviation pilots, 754,000 new maintenance technicians, and 890,000 new cabin crew will be needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years.
We see an opportunity to address this shortage by getting young people excited about STEM learning and aviation careers through a new project we call Soar into STEM.
Soar into STEM is an exciting, hands-on STEM learning experience designed to engage students in STEM learning by bringing them into our hangar to work on mission- bound aircraft. The mission of Soar into STEM is to use the resources of Wings of Hope — airplanes, pilots, mechanics, and aviation experts — to expose young people to STEM- related pathways and future aviation careers.
What makes our program different from other STEM learning experiences?
Every aircraft students work on is destined for use in the Wings of Hope mission field. That’s where we connect STEM learning to service learning — and show students how what they’re learning in the classroom can make a difference in the world.
How is the program structured?
Soar into STEM is a program held at the Wings of Hope world headquarters at Spirit of St. Louis Airport. Students meet on four Saturdays for hands-on repair and modification of an airplane, presentations by guest speakers sharing career path information and stories, and information about the Wings of Hope mission — including medical air transport flights that fly in and out of our St. Louis hangar. Topics covered include an introduction to how planes fly; pre- flight inspections; airplane engineering, manufacturing and maintenance; flight planning for a Wings of Hope mission; and navigation and navigation instruments. Students will also have an opportunity to spend time in a flight simulator and fly in a small-engine aircraft.