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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Opens New Aviation Gateway Park
EAA Chairman of the Board Jack Pelton and Piper Aircraft CEO Simon Caldecott cut a ribbon to dedicate the new Aviation Gateway Park on Monday.
By Barbara A. Schmitz
July 20, 2015 - EAA AirVenture’s Aviation Gateway Park, meant to inspire and get young people interested in aviation and innovation, officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.
Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board, and Simon Caldecott, CEO of Piper Aircraft, cut the ribbon as a drone flew overhead in the rear. Original plans called for the drone to deliver the two a pair of scissors to cut the ribbon, but that was canceled due to wind.
Piper Aircraft is the chief sponsor for the new park.
“We’re really excited about this launch to lead into the show,” Pelton said, noting that last year the area was called College Park, and was meant to get people interested in aviation colleges. “But we took a step back, and realized that if we are to fit in with EAA’s mission, which is to really inspire and get people interested in aviation and with particularly this week with innovation, we needed to connect those pieces.”
The Aviation Gateway Park does just that, Pelton said, showing them a path from education to career, and includes lots of relevant forums. “I think this place will be central at AirVenture 2015,” he said.
Caldecott said Piper decided to sponsor the park because of Piper’s history and legacy in training. “When I took over as CEO, I made a commitment that Piper would get back in the training business,” he said. “Over the last four years, we refreshed our whole product line and introduced the latest technology. It’s all about innovation and having the newest technology available for the next generation coming along.”
Passion is also important, Caldecott said. “It is interesting to see what we need to do to get the next generation interested in aviation,” he said. “Having something like the Aviation Gateway Park will help young people gain that interest.”
The park includes the Innovation Center, Forums Area and Education/Career Center, as well as a drone cage where competitions will be held daily. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association sponsors the Innovation Center, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University sponsors the drone cage and Multicopter Warehouse sponsors a live video feed. In addition, Hobbico and Horizon Hobby donated 20 drones to use in the cage and for EAA activities throughout the year.