Think Global Flight Journey to Launch at Sun 'n Fun
Judy Rice and a group of students with the TGF Cirrus SR22.
February 12, 2014 - Aviation enthusiasts from around the world will fly into Florida's Lakeland Linder Regional Airport for the Sun 'n Fun International Fly In and Expo April 1-6, but there will also be one very significant departure on April 3: The Think Global Flight (TGF) crew is set to take off from Sun 'n Fun to launch its around-the-world flight promoting S.T.E.M. education and aviation.
Captain Judy Rice, CFI and teacher, and navigator Fred Nauer, CFI-I and retired airline pilot, will fly the northern route with an easterly heading, stopping at schools around the world to interact with students and discuss the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. They'll continue on for three months and arrive back in Oshkosh for EAA AirVenture 2014.
At the Sun 'n Fun launch, the crew will be joined by Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Voyager Pilot, Dick Rutan. Then Aldrin will ride along in the Cirrus SR22 on first flight leg, destination, the Dominican Republic.
"Back when I was privileged to be a part of the Apollo program, the USA was No. 1 in science and technology fields," Aldrin said. "No one had ever heard of S.T.E.M. because we were at the top. Unfortunately today America is falling behind other countries."
"S.T.E.M. is exactly the focus of Think Global Flight reaching over 20,000 students and why I strongly support Captain Judy and TGF," Aldrin added. "In addition, I will celebrate a repeat of my T-6 solo flight in 1951 at Gilbert field in the TGF Cirrus with Captain Judy."
TGF has set up Student Command Centers around the world, allowing teachers and their students to follow the flight through the Think Global Flight app for iPhone, Androids, and iPads, as well as online, to interact with the flight crew, and participate in curricula developed to inspire students to see the promises that aviation and aerospace hold for them. Currently, there are 20,000 participants in 25 countries and 31 U.S. States.
As well as the Cirrus, the flight will also include a greater representation of GA by flying in various other aircraft. The effort was launched by Guidance Aviation of Prescott, Arizona, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and supporters and endorsers include Air Journey, AOPA, AVweb, Jeppesen, Spidertracks, Sennheiser, and Signature Flight Support.