Despite varied backgrounds, including more than a few military paratroopers, Texas A&M University – Central Texas students usually keep both feet planted firmly on the ground, at least until it’s time to blast off in a rocket.
These students, enrolled in the Aviation Science-Professional Pilot program aimed for the stars, but hit good old central Texas limestone, during the twice-yearly Rocket Launch event. As part of the Techniques of Instruction class, taught by Aviation Science Department Chair, Dr. Jim Fullingim, this event allows students a chance to learn more about aircraft, in miniature form and enhances their ability to teach others about aircraft performance.
“These are hands-on ‘training aids’ that illustrate the physical properties of teaching with models that have all of the characteristics of aircraft, only smaller,” Fullingim said. Using the models allows students to experiment with performance modifiers similar to what would be found on full-sized fixed-wing aircraft.
Unexpected flight paths can often result, creating amusing and surprising flight paths on launch but the sheer fun of it all is the best part, Fullingim said.
“Watching many students do this joyfully for the first time is quite an experience,” Fullingim said. “I have been involved hands on in model rockets since 1968. It never gets old and is a fascinating hobby.”
Dr. Fullingim received his associate’s degree in Aircraft Training Technology, his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, his masters and doctoral degree in Applied Technology, Training and Development. He has taught Aviation at Tarleton State University-Central Texas (now A&M-Central Texas), Navarro College and Texas State Technical College. In addition, he was a regional airline pilot for Air Midwest in Wichita, Kansas, as well as a charter pilot for Grady Stone Aviation in Fort Smith, Arkansas and a flight instructor/charter pilot/flight department manager for Chaparral-Tradewind Beechcraft Aviation, Inc. in Amarillo, Texas.
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