The air was crisp on Saturday morning, but there was no wind to be found. It was a perfect day for flying, and members of the Alto Active Achievers 4-H Club were going to do just that.
Members of the club had finished three academic sessions about aeronautics, and students were capping off their studies with some first-hand experience in the sky. Jeff Ostrander of Majestic Air was the group’s guide.
“They asked us to provide some basic instruction on aeronautics,” Ostrander says. He’s been a pilot since 1978 and has operated Majestic Air Flight School in Lowell for the past eight years. During three sessions, he taught students about the science and history of aviation.
While many people associate 4-H with agriculture and the annual fair, clubs have an education component that goes beyond raising livestock and creating displays. Ivy Stoller, a 16-year old homeschool student, says most of their classes are taught by parents which is what made the aviation unit with Ostrander so unique. “When you bring in an outside teacher, it’s different from anything else [we learn],” she says.
Taking to the Skies for the First Time
Members of the Alto Active Achievers came at staggered times on Saturday morning to take turns riding in Majestic Air’s Cessna, which could hold three passengers plus the pilot.
Josh VanSpronsen was the first to show up with his sons Hunter, 10, and Colt, 6, who are both students at Alto Elementary School. VanSpronsen estimates there are 35-40 active members within the Alto Active Achievers 4-H Club. “It’s not anything like your Cub Scouts,” he says. There are no badges to earn or ranks to achieve. Instead, members study a wide variety of topics simply for the sake of learning.
Hunter and Colt had never been on a plane before and would be the first to take off on Saturday.
Majestic Air specializes in aerobatic instruction so the boys first took a look at one of the planes capable of doing loops and rolls.
However, there would be no flying upside for the VanSpronsen boys on Saturday. Instead, after Dad filled out some paperwork, they headed to another plane for their flight above Lowell.
Once strapped in, it was mostly smiles – and a little nervousness – as the group was ready to go.
And they’re off!
Up in the air, it was smiles all around from the kids and parents who took on a ride into the sky on a beautiful Saturday morning.