High School Aviation Field Trip

L-R: Mari Peterson, Levi Doenges, Gavin Flaum, Kris McCann, Megan O’Brian, Kyle Masters, Zach Fincher and Derek Smith – Tim Burke photo

A group of FHHS kids and their teachers had a fun field trip to Seattle on Sunday. Mari Peterson, Assistant Chief Pilot at Westwind Aviation is teaching an aviation class (sort of an “introduction to aviation” type course) along with Derek Smith this semester at Friday Harbor High School. She coordinated a visit for her students down to King County International Airport (Boeing Field) so they could see firsthand what all goes on at a busy airport.

Mari Peterson – Contributed photo

Here’s Mari with the scoop…

We flew down with Kenmore and did a few circles around downtown Seattle on the way in, then landed and received a tour of the Kenmore Air Express location.

After that, we walked over to Signature Flight Support (a major Fixed Base Operator – a company that services all kinds of aircraft, from general aviation to corporate jets), and received a tour. From there, we went to Flightcraft’s maintenance hangar where they explained the different parts of the jet and the kinds of maintenance they require. After that we went back to the pilot’s lounge in Signature for a snack break.

L-R: Derek, Kyle, Megan, Zach, Levi, Kris, Gavin, Mari and Deputy Bill Butterfield – Tim Burke photo

Next, we received an on-airport tour with Tim Burke, Airport Operations Manager, who explained what everything on the airport was. Along the way we stopped at the Control Tower and went up to the actual air traffic control room and the kids got to see the air traffic controllers working and ask them questions.

At the Museum of Flight. Left to right: Mari, Zach, Levi, Gavin, Kris, Megan, Kyle, Derek – Contributed photo

After that, we continued with Tim to the ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting) building, where one of the police officers/firefighters explained all about emergency response and let them sit in one of the fire trucks.

Viewing a Bombardier Challenger 605 with Darrin Pratt, courtesy of Flightcraft Maintenance – Contributed photo

Then we continued again with Tim on a “runway inspection” which is where Airport Operations drive down both of the parallel runways to inspect the condition of the field. He then took us to the Museum of Flight where we had lunch and toured the museum for two hours. From there, Kenmore picked us up in one of their sprinter vans, and we flew back up to Friday Harbor!

Viewing a Bombardier Challenger 605 with Darrin Pratt, courtesy of Flightcraft Maintenance – Contributed photo

The class is completely free to the students, and this trip was made possible entirely by donation. It would not have been possible without the generosity of many, many people. (Kenmore flights, museum admission, speakers’ time, etc). It seemed like the kids had a blast.

End of the trip at Friday Harbor Airport. L-R: Christina Rzeplinski, Kenmore first officer in training; Derek Smith, Technology education FHHS; Kris McCann; Gavin Flaum; Levi Doenges; Kyle Masters; Megan O’Brian; Zach Fincher; Mari Peterson, Westwind Aviation assistant chief pilot; Christian Traina, Kenmore captain in training and Scott Kanlyn, Kenmore chief pilot – Contributed photo

Posted on March 14, 2017 at 5:59 am by

Categories: Education, Schools, Technology, Transportation


  1. Thank you Mari Peterson and all that helped make this class take flight! Awesome! Zach was on Cloud 9! How fortunate are we to have such opportunities. Thanks again, Debbi

    Comment by Debbi Fincher on March 14, 2017 at 8:06 am
  2. Great Field Trip for the kids.
    In Eastern Washington near Wilbur, I began flying at age 14. Soloed at 16, when we bought a Piper Cub. I flew all over the state with many adventures. Now living on San Juan Island, near the Cattle Point waters, I still at age 86 enjoy watching all sorts of planes use this waterway to come and go over Cattle Pass.

    Comment by Joanne Terry on March 14, 2017 at 9:59 am
  3. Exceptionally well done, Mari! What a great way to get young people enthusiastic about STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics), and future career opportunities.

    Comment by Daniel S. Schwartz on March 14, 2017 at 11:42 am
  4. Many thanks to Kenmore Air, Mari Peterson and the other contributors to this flying success story. Our students got a close up, personal look at some of the many exciting aspects of aviation where they might a future career.

    Comment by Dennis Willows on March 14, 2017 at 3:19 pm

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