Oklahoma is known for big moments in flight. Will Rogers and Wylie Post were both Okies who made considerable contributions to the aerospace industry. Oklahoma has also produced more astronauts than any other state, including Major General Thomas P. Stafford and John Herrington who was the first Native American in space.
Major aerospace company, ASCO recognizes the possibilities Oklahoma offers and is opening a new plant in Stillwater. In today’s video blog, we take a look at the jobs opening up because of the new plant and how many people will benefit from it.
Over the years, I‘ve produced many stories about the aviation industry but the ones that stand out in my mind are when students get excited about aerospace. So many times growing up, children want to be astronauts. But as time goes by, they seem to lose interest in aviation. Oh sure, a few will go on to become airline pilots and an even greater few will become astronauts but most will forget that particular dream.
I think it was a much more popular idea back in the 1960s and 1970s, when the space race was in full force. Recently, we’ve “been there, done that” and there really isn’t a push towards space…which has resulted in an aging workforce. For many aviation companies, finding someone to work on an airplane or help design one isn’t easy. Students just don’t think about going into that field, instead, they are looking at gaming software engineering or auto mechanics versus becoming an engineer or aviation mechanic. But that is slowly changing.
In this week’s video blog, meet a couple of students who may be the next generation of engineers and mechanics to work on airplanes or even go the distance right into space.
I was not looking forward to spending an entire day listening to stuffy business men talk about the aerospace industry. First of all it’s way over my head. I chose broadcast journalism because it is just that; journalism. Math and science not included. Furthermore, how exciting can airplanes be anyway?
I was in for a wake-up call and a reminder of why my job is so cool.
They say it is like speed dating for the aerospace industry. The annual aerospace summit in Tulsa, OK, brings together officials and aerospace aficionados from around the world to discuss all the new things heading our way. As a multi-billion dollar industry, aerospace proves to be extremely important to Oklahoma’s economy. The industry provides an astounding 143,000 jobs and $12 billion dollars annually to the state.
Now back to the stuffy business men. Yeah they were all wearing suits, but it turns out these guys were more along the lines of oh…geniuses. We are talking about men and women who have walked on the moon. Astronauts so intellectually brilliant they draw complicated designs on napkins. No not squiggles and doodles, but the design plans for the B2 bomber. CEO’s of Boeing and American Airlines. Airplane pilots who have decided to retire from the grueling occupation and perfect unmanned aerial reconnaissance used for spying by the U.S. government.
The men and women of the aerospace industry are incredible. My brain will never work the way theirs does. Continue reading On the Horizon: Flying High with Brilliance
A half century has passed since President Kennedy challenged our nation to do what most thought to be impossible: Land a man on the moon. Yet in just eight years, Neil Armstrong made that giant step for mankind…thanks in great part to the work of several Oklahomans.
Per capita, Oklahoma has more former astronauts than any other state and many were in attendance at an event to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the race into space. Former astronauts and NASA workers gathered at the Oklahoma History Center to commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK’s challenge to Congress:
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.” – John F. Kennedy
Few people embody Oklahoma’s pioneering spirit more than General Thomas P. Stafford…a man whose mother came to the state in the back of a covered wagon, while he later rocketed into space. The same passion that took General Stafford to the moon is still evident today in his work to educate a new generation about science and technology.
This week in our video blog, we visit the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford, Oklahoma to look into our country’s aerospace history, as well as, the life of an extraordinary Oklahoman.
On the Horizon: Rocket Man from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.