Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum: Unlocking the Future
The aviation industry is reaching what some call “The Perfect Storm.” This refers to the projected retirement of over 1 million aviation professionals in the next 10 years according to the Department of Employment and Economic Development. The result, an overwhelming demand for young aviators. Although TAM has been producing experienced pilots, mechanics, and engineers currently taking their industries by storm, our impact is relatively small.
A recent development at our humble museum is the surge of graduates returning to volunteer. Since its origins, TAM has created thousands of successful graduates who now populate major aviation companies. Many of these graduates still return to the museum to give back and volunteer their time. Our facility hosts engineers from SpaceX and Raytheon, mechanics from American Airlines and Surf Air, and pilots from United and PSA who inspire inner city youth to reach higher. Three of our graduates are currently part of a team that helps keep TAM running. Bertha Gallardo, a newly hired American Airlines mechanic, volunteers her extra time repairing our fleet. Kelly Anyadike, holding a Masters Degree at the young age of 23, is our grant writer helping fund the museum. Lee Westropp, a recent Aerospace Engineering graduate, runs the museum as the Director of Operations. Not only have our graduates succeeded in top companies, but they have returned to run a program that they once attended.
Our programs have a definitive impact on the daily lives and future careers of our students. As an after school program in an urban community, we give kids a safe place to do their homework, play, and work towards larger goals. As a flight school TAM’s focus reaches beyond creating young pilots by teaching kids that any career is possible. Students wash airplanes, answer phones, clean windows, do their homework, and sweep floors to earn “museum dollars.” This pseudo currency can be exchanged for flight time in our aircraft. Students learn how to work towards larger goals, and not trade their time for immediate satisfaction. By providing support for converting hard work into success, kids realize that any goal can be achieved.
Currently our influence is limited to instruction after school and on the weekends. Expanding the museum to include classrooms and STEM lab space allows students to utilize TAM’s inspiring mindset during the school day. A custom built TAM curriculum is being sold to school districts for use in programs to create replacements for retiring aviation professionals. By switching to the Academy model, TAM will develop even more aviators, engineers, and mechanics to populate highly sought after positions. This expansion is the solution to “The Perfect Storm” predicted to plague aviation companies in the near future.
Build Classrooms for Structured Education
By acquiring land adjacent to the museum, TAM can build a classroom and lab space which will allow TAM to offer a more structured after school program. This new facility will allow school districts to have an offsite campus where students will graduate high school with enough hands-on and in-class experience to be hired by sponsor companies and other technology-based institutions around the world. The addition will include full motion simulators, wind tunnels, drones, robotics, flight training, CAD DAM, and 3D printers so students can test, build and design their projects, turning their dreams into reality.