The Science, Technology, & Aviation Research Program (STAR) is an award winning, nationally recognized education program that the Division of Aviation created in early 2016. The program brings aviation stakeholders, educators, students, and the Kansas community together to promote STEM education and industry opportunities within the state. Since its implementation, STAR has led to statewide outreach involving over 2,300 students and 30 communities to help address future and current industry issues.
This year's tour, presented by the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education and the Kansas Department of Transportation, focused on raising awareness of the importance of community airports and promoting STEM and aviation education to young people. More than 1200 students visited their local airports, interacted with pilots, and toured several dozen aircraft during the tour.
This is the fourth consecutive year for the revived tour, which first took place in 1928. The 2017 Fly Kansas Air Tour lifted off from Wellington on Sept. 29 for a three-day, 9-city celebration of Kansas aviation. Over 36 aircraft flew an average of 12 hours to help spread industry awareness and knowledge to local students, and community members.
Our mission for Aviation Day at the Capitol is to showcase the positive impacts that aviation and the aerospace industry have in the state of Kansas. The event provides an opportunity for aviation stakeholders and legislators to network and discuss the businesses that contribute so greatly to the Kansas economy. Representatives in various facets of Kansas aviation setup display tables around the rotunda area of the Capitol to discuss their businesses. A catered lunch is provided and round networking tables are set up in the rotunda area of the capital, giving legislators and exhibitors an environment conducive to networking.
In its 4th year, the 2018 event attracted over 42 organizations to fill both floors of the Capitol and more than doubled in scope from the previous year. Economic development and education were the focus of the day. Industry leaders had the chance to network with state representatives, elected officials, and other industry members to help promote Kansas aviation initiatives. Over 600 individuals attended the workshop, with 48+ legislators personally stopping by to visit with organizations in their district and beyond.
Companies that attended this year included: Airmap, Bombardier, Garmin, Spirit Aerosystems, Textron Aviation, University of Kansas Engineering, Wichita State University, Lee Aerospace, Kansas Air National Guard, Westar, AOPA, Butler Community College, Burns & McDonnell, Civil Air Patrol, Commemorative Air Force, Cosmosphere, Explorer Post 8, Flight Safety, Garver, Kansas Associate of Airports, Manhattan Regional Airport, Kansas Agricultural Aviation Association, Kansas State Polytechnic, Lifeteam, NIAR, Pilots for Christ, Pulse Aerospace, VAA, Wichita Aero Club, Exploration Place, Dodge City Community College, Kiewit, Kansas Aviation Museum, EAA Chapter 88, NBAA, Wichita Area Technical College, NCAT, National Weather Service, and Mission Aviation Fellowship….and more.
The Division has directly hosted webinars and workshops covering a wide range of topics to include pilots, airport professionals, and more. Most recently, a webinar attended by over 60 pilots was hosted covering Winter Weather Flying in January and February. The webinar was supported by the Wichita FAASTeam and counted towards FAA WINGS safety credits.
The division has also hosted an airport manager workshop to launch Airmap dashboards and facilitate grant management under a panel of experts. The workshop was the largest gathering of Kansas airport managers on record and received positive reviews across the board.
KDOT regularly works with industry leaders and experts to ensure successful outcomes during their training events. Support is regularly sourced from: FAA, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Kansas Association of Airports, Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education, and more to support outreach, education, and safety workshops.