Hands-On Learning

Kansas City Students to Get STEM Classroom on Retired Jet


Students in Kansas City will soon have a new STEM classroom inside a refurbished two-story jumbo jet.

The Kansas City-based non-profit group TriStar Experience recently flew the Lockheed L-1011 from Tucson to its new home, where it will be converted into an environment designed to spark student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and education and careers in aviation and related fields.

The jet was mothballed for 15 years in Tucson, AZ before TriStar acquired it and eventually flew it to Kansas City the Saturday before last. The jet began its life in 1974 and was converted in the 1990s into a flying hospital for Operation Blessing International.

TriStar owns two other planes and a flight simulator that it uses to teach students about STEM and aviation through ground-based and in-flight experiences.

"The idea is to inspire the kids with these big, really cool toys where they can get up close and personal and see the lessons being played out real time to inspire them to actually look into those areas for further study to peruse in high school or college and then ultimately go into aviation related careers," said Mike Saxton, vice president at TriStar Experience, according to a report about the project.

More information is available at tristarexperience.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].