ISTAT News | 01 December 2019
Jetrader: ISTAT Foundation Grant Recipient Spotlight
This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Jetrader magazine.
What is the mission of the Irish Aviation Foundation/Shannon Aviation Museum?
Shannon Aviation Museum’s mission is to inspire and foster the next generation of aviation professionals. We provide an interactive, fun, educational and inspirational experience that touches individuals from every generation, opening hearts and engaging minds to myriad possibilities within aviation, professionally or recreationally.
Our programs and activities convey the sheer excitement and joy of flight with the aim of inspiring future generations to consider a career in aviation. The Aviation Discovery Centre acts as a pipeline of passionate candidates for both the aviation industry and educational/ training establishments.
What is unique about aviation in Ireland?
Ireland has contributed tremendously to the global aviation industry, and Shannon has a unique aeronautical history, which is largely unknown and unrecognized.
We aim to showcase the history of aviation, particularly Shannon’s rich heritage and global contribution, and to preserve Ireland’s aeronautical heritage as the custodians of historical aircraft, artifacts and memorabilia for future generations.
Why do you think grants like these are important in this industry?
The first century of flight has turned the corner, and no other single event in the history of the modern world has changed the social, cultural and economic life of people than the birth of the aircraft.
There is no doubt that aviation holds a special fascination for mankind. Within a short span of time, we have gone from rudimentary powered flight to landing on the moon.
Despite its immense attraction, at times aviation is often seen as elitist in today’s society, and, in our experience, teachers and career guidance counselors are unaware of the huge diversity of aviation careers. There are many preconceptions about the industry because people generally recognize pilots, cabin crew, engineers and possibly air traffic control as the only aviation career paths, and many young people have never met a female pilot.
At the Aviation Discovery Workshop in Shannon, the support from the ISTAT Foundation has enabled young people from across Ireland to learn about this challenging and diverse industry. Programs are designed to ensure that they get a look behind the scenes, to meet real role models, and learn about careers options from people working in those roles.
The ISTAT Foundation has the foresight to reach out to support organizations who do this work, helping them to inspire, educate and foster passionate young people who will be the future of the aviation industry.
How has the funding from the ISTAT Foundation affected the populations you serve?
In 2018 and 2019, we received funding from the ISTAT Foundation for capital projects, which are currently in development. They include the equipping of the new Aviation Discovery Workshop designed with AeroSTEM in mind by experienced aviation professionals from across the spectrum. These infrastructure projects will ensure we have the hands-on equipment we need to do our work.
Following the refurbishment of the Aviation Discovery Workshop, we plan to develop outreach programs and Discover Aviation teacher packs for all primary schools in Ireland, and we look forward to the ISTAT Foundation’s support to achieve that goal.
In our experience of delivering over 90,000 hours of aviation education to 30,000 young people over the last decade, we believe that the love of aviation begins at a very early age.
Outcomes of our programs have seen some amazing results over the last 10 years. Many of the young children who had their first aviation experience with us are now thriving professionals in the aviation industry. This is the reason for our being. In Ireland, we had a great poet, WB Yeats, who once wrote, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”