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By November 23, 2021No Comments

What keeps airplanes up? That’s one of the concepts students studied if they joined the Junior Test Pilot Program, offered for the third consecutive summer this year at Blackbird Airpark on East Avenue P in Palmdale, where about 20 military aircraft including the D-21 drone and the SR-71 are on display.

The program hosts four sessions each year. The first runs for one week and is reserved for school classes. The following three sessions are two weeks long and are open to the public. This summer all three public sessions are full.

The sessions run Monday through Thursday each week, according to Kathy Harfman, the gift shop manager at Edwards Flight Test Museum and at Blackbird Airpark. Harfman ran the program, initiated by the Flight Test Historical Foundation, the first two summers.

A highlight of the program, Reeder said, is the fact that aerospace industry professionals come in as guest speakers for the students on class days.

“So students get one-on-one access to aerospace professionals,” Reeder said. “Also, they’re learning there are hundreds of jobs in their backyard — pilots, engineers, mechanics, machine shop staff, IT personnel. In general, the goal is to get students excited about learning.

This year, Rebecca Reeder, the new general manager of the Flight Test Historical Foundation, took charge.

The program shows students that “learning is fun,” Reeder said. Furthermore, she added, the professionals show students the path that led to their own careers.

It’s a good opportunity for students to get a better understanding of the aerospace industry, Reeder said.

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