There are not too many of Tech’s various clubs and organizations that can say they have their meetings at two-thousand feet, but that is not the case for the Georgia Tech Flying Club.
Every month, the Flying Club participates in an aeronautical event hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), where students attend a pancake breakfast and listen to the speech of a well-renowned pilot or airplane connoisseur.
This month’s speaker at the event was Colonel Eric Boe, ‘97 MS EE alum and a well-known astronaut.
Having participated in many space missions including this years 39th and final flight of the Discovery shuttle on Feb. 24, 2011, Colonel Boe helped to install trusses aboard the International Space Station.
“We were extremely pleased to meet Eric Boe. It’s such an honor to meet someone this well-renowned in aeronautics history. This is a great time to participate in the Yellow Jacket Flying club because we really want to get involved with the EAA and find more opportunities to fly planes,” said Manuel Diaz, the Vice President of the Yellow Jacket Flying Club and a fifth-year AE major.
The Yellow Jacket Flying Club was founded in 1946 and has continued to grow and expand in membership ever since.
“I think now we are up to nearly two hundred members, most of them certified to fly airplanes,” Diaz said.
Members of the club come from a diverse body of students, from MGT to AE majors.
“We all just get together because we love airplanes,” Diaz said. “The club is a great way for people to get their pilot’s license in a more cost efficient way, and meet people with the same interests.”
Diaz received his pilot’s license last year and has been flying ever since.
“I love being Vice President of this club because of all the unique opportunities,” Diaz said. “It was great to go to the breakfast and listen to Boe. I am also very excited to see the new talent at this upcoming air show.”
The air show was held minutes after the pancake breakfast.
Boe also visited the air show, delivering a second speech. Afterwards Boe shared some of his experiences with Tech and space.
“I went to the Air Force academy for my undergraduate degree and graduated from Georgia Tech in 1997 with a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Georgia Tech is an awesome school, both the instructors and the education. It was interesting to go through the electrical engineering courses and the Master’s program. I love all of the Tech fans, and I always enjoy saying ‘Go Jackets’ when up in space,” Boe said.
“I would say that the two coolest things about space are looking out the windows and floating. I mean you see the pictures and everything, but the real view out the window is even better. You see the vibrant blue from the windows of the shuttle and really understand how alive the planet is because everything looks like it’s thriving and growing. And secondly, floating is really cool. And I also enjoy getting the opportunity to work with all the team and all the work and effort that goes into getting into space. A large portion of my job as an astronaut is training and preparing. Training takes a year and a half and you’re only in space for two weeks. It’s all about enjoying the journey,” Boe said of his favorite aspects of space travel.
The members of the Yellow Jacket Flying Club were very excited to participate in these two special events and hope to continue to share soaring experiences with their fellow members.
“I want to encourage all of the students out there who are interested in flying to come to one of our meetings. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to fly an airplane, and I know that we all very much enjoy being in the air.” Diaz said.