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Flying High

Grayson Sewell

May 14, 2022

HUHS Aviation Club finishes building airplane

FLYING HIGH - HUHS Aviation Club finishes building airplane

May 14, 2022 Publication: Washington County Daily News (WI) Word Count: 851

By Grayson Sewell 262-306-5043HARTFORD

— The Hartford Union High School Aviation Club recently finished building an RV12 airplane, in conjunction with Kettle Moraine Youth Aviation (KMYA), and will have it on display next week.

The plane will be on display at HUHS on May 19. The plane will also be on display at Slinger High School on May 17. According to Larry Sullivan, who started KMYA, they are expanding into Slinger High School next year. Students from Slinger will build a plane with HUHS students starting next school year.

According to Sullivan, this all started because he wanted to build a second plane after he retired, just not by himself. Sullivan wanted to build one with high school students, and to share his passion with them."

So, I talked with Hartford High School, where my kids went to high school, and I talked with Scott Helms the [athletics and] activities director ... and told him about what we would like to do and he got on board," said Sullivan." We created the Aviation Club at Hartford High School in the fall of 2020, and started building [the plane] in September of 2020."

Before they began building the plane, Mark Murphy, a construction/ architecture teacher at HUHS who spent 23 years as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force, got involved with the club as the HUHS club mentor. "I was excited to be a part of it, just getting things set up. We initially housed the program here at the high school," said Murphy. Murphy added that it was a perfect fit with how stellar HUHS’s Technical Education Department is, and how great the teachers are with hands-on classes.

Twenty-one HUHS students have been a part of the Aviation Club. According to Sullivan, there are currently 10. Garrett McFarren is one of those 10 students, and he never previously had interest in this type of field."Originally, I hadn’t been so much interested [in aviation] Honestly, I really didn’t know it was a high school club until the first year it ran," said McFarren. "But I want to be an astrobiologist when I’m older and I really thought that getting into aviation, and things related to it, would sort of help me on that path."It didn’t take McFarren long to begin enjoying it."Once I started going to a few meetings I thought to myself ‘Oh wow, this is something that I really enjoy doing,’" said McFarren. "I didn’t really have a passion for it before I started. But now I really have developed that passion."

Margaret Colwell, another club member, said it was her brother’s drone hobby that got her into aviation.

"He got really into the aviation maps and I was kind of like ‘huh? What even is this?" said Colwell. "So then I heard about the Aviation Club and I’ve always enjoyed planes, and I was like OK, we’re going to go and check it out."Both McFarren and Colwell said while it hasn’t always been easy, it has been worth it."[It was] laborious. It was very long, very technical and it’s not all sunshine and roses," said McFarren. "But in the end we’re a family and it’s a really interesting process to be a part of.""It’s been a challenge to learn the new skills and stick with it sometimes," said Colwell.She added that you learn a lot from the mistakes you make while building a plane.

This is something that Murphy hoped the students would take away from the build."There’s little room for error when you’re working with an airplane," said Murphy. "It just helps [the students] to understand the quality assurance portion of it.""It was definitely frustrating at times, but there has never been a day where I walked out of there not happy with the things I accomplished that day," said McFarren."Just seeing how everybody has developed and the skills we’ve learned throughout our two years building this plane has been incredible," said Colwell. "Additionally, just seeing the progress, ’cause back last year when we had just finished the wings we were like ‘dang, we got so far.’ Now seeing the plane actually come together, it’s insane."

Colwell added that anyone can get into this hobby."To get into the aviation world you just have to jump in two feet first," said Colwell. "You don’t have to know what the right side of a drill is, we’ll teach you everything you need to know."

Currently, the plane needs to be inspected before it can be flown. Once it is inspected all of the students who helped build it will get the chance to ride in it. Colwell is one of four of the club members taking flight lessons through Cub Air Flight, according to Sullivan. When she finishes getting her private pilot’s license this summer, she plans to fly the plane she helped build.

Washington County Daily News (WI)Date: May 14, 2022(c) Copyright 2022, Conley Publishing Group Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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