Exploring the Interactive Aviation-S.T.E.M. Zone: How the Abbotsford Airshow Inspires the Next Generation of Aviators

June 2, 2023

The Importance of S.T.E.M. Education and Its Role in Aviation

S.T.E.M. education, an interdisciplinary approach to learning that integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, is critical in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world. These fields are essential in an era of rapid technological advances, driving the innovation engine and underpinning the developments we see around us. 

S.T.E.M. principles have vast applications in aviation and aerospace, reaching beyond theoretical understanding. Engineers use their knowledge of mathematics and science to design, construct, and continually improve upon existing aircraft. They integrate cutting-edge technology to enhance performance, efficiency, and safety. Meanwhile, scientists apply their understanding of the physical world to decipher the underlying forces acting upon an aircraft, leading to more practical designs and advanced navigation and communication systems.

From the earliest concepts of flight to today’s complex machines that traverse our skies and the reaches of space, S.T.E.M. principles have been integral. The Abbotsford International Airshow, recognizing this vital connection, marries these two concepts, bringing S.T.E.M. education to life and stoking the imaginations of the next generation of aviators, engineers, and scientists.

Overview of the Expanded Aviation-S.T.E.M. Zone

Each year, the Abbotsford International Airshow delivers an array of stunning aircraft, breathtaking aerobatics, and thrilling flight demonstrations that captivate its audience. One of its exciting ground attractions is the expanded Aviation-S.T.E.M. Zone. This dedicated space within the airshow serves as a thriving hub for experiential learning, allowing visitors to explore S.T.E.M. principles firsthand. With significant participation from leading aerospace companies like Cascade Aerospace, Marshall Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, and Shell Aviation and educational institutions including BCIT, UFV and UBC, the Zone offers immersive activities and hands-on experiences. This arena creates an engaging and dynamic learning environment for children and young adults. The ultimate goal is not just to impart knowledge, but to inspire, to ignite a passion for aviation and a curiosity about the vast potential of S.T.E.M. fields.

The S.T.E.M. Zone features various interactive exhibits and activities that cater to different age groups and interests. Younger children can craft paper airplanes, construct Lego projects, explore rockets and jet engines, and even learn the basics of soldering and riveting. For older children and teens, the S.T.E.M. Zone offers more advanced activities such as airline simulators, virtual reality challenges, a drone-flying cage, robotics coding, and much more.

Impact of the Abbotsford International Airshow’s S.T.E.M. Zone

Through its S.T.E.M. Zone, the Abbotsford International Airshow is playing a crucial role in exposing the next generation to the wonders of aviation and the potential of S.T.E.M. fields. By turning theoretical principles into interactive, enjoyable learning experiences, the Airshow motivates children and young adults to explore career paths in these rewarding sectors.  

The future of aviation and aerospace depends on these inspired minds, and through endeavours like these, we are ensuring a future filled with innovation and discovery.

Extend the Experience with S.T.E.M. Day Camps

In addition to the onsite S.T.E.M. Zone during the event, the Airshow has also partnered with other aviation partners to offer three exciting Aviation-S.T.E.M. Day Camps. 

GearBots, an Abbotsford-based S.T.E.M. organization will be offering two half-day camps July 1 – August 4 at the UFV Aerospace Centre. The first camp, Introduction to Aerospace Design, covers the exciting science behind how airplanes fly. Camp attendees will learn about the physics of flight, then design and test various gliders based on their knowledge. The second camp for more advanced students, Aerospace Engineering will see attendees build a mechanical device from scratch using digital design tools, 3D printers and laser cutters. Both camps offer an amazing, hands-on S.T.E.M. learning experience. For more information on GearBots camps, visit: www.gearbots.org

The Airshow has also partnered with Elevate Aviation, The 99s, and NavCanada to offer an exclusive Aviation 101 – Workshop for Women. Proudly hosted by Chinook Helicopters, this one-day camp offers young women ages 16 and up the opportunity to learn aviation fundamentals from professional women pilots and air traffic controllers. Attendees will learn the basics of flying, navigation and communication, fly a helicopter in a simulator, and even visit a working Air Traffic Control tower. For more information on this exclusive aviation workshop for women, visit: https://abbotsfordairshow.com/aviation101