Boy Scouts get flight time

Sunday, May 5, 2002

The airplane ride was great.

It was nice getting away from his sister, too.

Matthew Griffin, 10, of Boy Scout Troop 5 in Cape Girardeau, was one of 280 Scouts who attended the 2002 spring camporee at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport Saturday.

The event, which began at 8:30 p.m. Friday and will run until 10 a.m. today, provided all sorts of aviation education Saturday.

Many of the Scouts took short plane rides, and all learned about airplane instruments and pre-flight inspections. Tours were given of the control tower, the Renaissance airplane manufacturing facility and the ARCH Air medical helicopter.

The scouts also built balsa wood airplanes, had a model rocket launch and an egg-drop contest.

But the main topic of conversation seemed to be the flights.

"At first it was kind of scary," said Griffin, whose flight Saturday was his first. "But once we got up in the air as high as we were going to go, it was OK. When we got up there and we looked down, it kind of looked like a play place."

Bryce Max, 12, of Troop 17 in Cape Girardeau, also took his first plane ride.

"It was fun, but kind of scary," he said. "I got kind of nauseated while we were flying."

The camporee came together nicely for both the Cape Girardeau Aviation Explorer Post No. 221, the host of the camporee, and the Scouts.

Airport manager Bruce Loy, who coordinated the event, said the aviation group contacted the Scouts about putting on a weekend show to help them earn their aviation badges. And it just so happened that the Scouts were looking for a place to have their camporee.

As a result, more turned out Saturday than have in the seven years that Kevin Steger has been a troop leader.

"This idea they came up with, we thought it would be neat, and it has been," Steger said.

Hungry for information

It wasn't just the Scouts and leaders who were having a good time.

Sharon Sarno was giving demonstrations on pre-flight inspections.

"I find the kids are so hungry for this kind of information," she said. "It's been a lot of fun. So many kids are taking an interest in flying, it's unreal."

And that, ultimately, is what Loy was hoping would happen.

"It's just a way for us to introduce aviation to the Scouts," Loy said. "I never dreamed we would have this response, but it's been fantastic."

In addition to learning about flying, the Scouts also enjoyed something they're more known for -- camping.

Several tents are set up on a grassy lot at the airport.

Max said he had fun with his friends, playing tag and capture the flag.

For Griffin, the camporee has provided an escape of sorts.

"I liked the camping and getting away from my sister," he said.

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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