Saturday, May 24, 2014

Blue Angels & the Aviation Merit Badge

Have you ever dreamed of flying through the clouds, twisting, rolling and being able to soar like an eagle?

One day, when I was a young Boy Scout, I rode my bicycle several miles to the local airport in Hurricane, Utah. Standing outside the fence, I watched in wonder and amazement as a small airplane would roar to life, speed down the runway, take off, bank and twist in a pattern over the airport and town, and come back in for a landing. I admired this airplane and dreamed of flying as I watched it repeat these maneuvers over and over. After a while, the pilot noticed me and taxied over to where I was standing. He leaned out the door of the airplane and asked if I had ever flown before. When I told him, "No," he waved his hand and said, "Well, come on then!" His airplane was no bigger than a VW Bug with wings, but to me it seemed like a 747! I climbed in the seat, buckled up tight, and we taxied down the runway. The engine roared to life as he handed me a headset to wear. We did several touch-n-go practices before I asked him about the shape of his airplane; I wondered why it was shaped like a boat. He changed course to fly in the direction of a nearby lake as he explained to me that it was an amphibian aircraft. We flew over the top of the lake, what seemed like just a few feet above the water, and then made a banking turn to come in for an exciting water landing. As we floated to a stop, he turned off the engine and let me open the doors to dangle my feet in the cool water. If only we had fishing poles! He let me hold the yoke as we flew back to the airport and came in for a landing. I had the opportunity to go through pre-flight and post-flight checks with him and learned a lot of useful information about aviation that day. At the end of our brief encounter he asked if I was a Boy Scout. When I told him that I was, he said, "Well, then you passed off about 80% of the requirements for the Aviation Merit Badge. Come back and see me tomorrow and we will work on the rest!"

It was such an awesome experience as a young boy to soar through the sky like an eagle around my home town and to learn about aviation from such an experienced pilot...

Now our Scouts can earn their Aviation Merit Badges at an event which also hosts the spectacular aerobatics of the famous Blue Angels!

 July 25-26, 2014
St. George Municipal Airport

Scouts have the amazing opportunity to camp overnight at the St. George Municipal Airport during the Thunder Over Utah air show where they will work on their Aviation Merit Badges with some great pilots!

Aviation Merit Badge clinic and airport campout sign-up HERE

Win an airplane ride for your Scouting unit!

Scouts can also spread the word about this fun family event and help raise money for the Boy Scouts of America in Southern Utah. In connection with United Way Dixie, Thunder Over Utah is having a contest where the Scouting unit with the most ticket sales will receive the awesome prize of being able to take their whole troop on an airplane ride over the air show!

To participate in this competition:
  1. Forward this blog article to all of your friends and family.
  2. Ask them to purchase tickets for the Thunder Over Utah event at 
  3. Be sure they use your Scouting unit's number as the promotion code. (For example, if you are in Troop 385, you would use "BSA385" in the promotion code area when you buy your tickets.)
  4. Pick up posters from the Scout Office in St. George, Utah (202 N 1000 E). Display these posters at local businesses and the location where your Scouting unit meets to invite others to help you win the contest! (Remember to write in your Scouting unit number where you see "BSA_____" on the poster so that your unit gets credit for any tickets purchased.)

Throughout the ages, youth and adults alike from all walks of life have dreamed of flying through the skies. I will always remember the incredible experience of earning my Aviation Merit Badge from a real pilot. I hope that all of our Scouts in Southern Utah come out to this event to do the same!

Register HERE for the Aviation Merit Badge and airport campout today!

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