By Pat Maurer
Twelve year old Jassy Singh of Clare, shown here with Clare Municipal Airport Manager Dick Acker, recently earned a free airplane ride around the area. “I got to see the football and baseball fields, McDonalds and Burger King, my school, the library and some really tiny cars,” Singh said.
The youngster just completed twenty hours on the Flight Simulator at the Pere Marquette Library, the first of approximately 30 kids who have been using the library equipment. The program is all about finding kids that are really interested in flying, Acker said. “If they are willing to spend 20 hours in the simulator, they deserve a real airplane ride.”
The new Junior Aviator Club at the library is under the direction of Children’s Librarian Rachel Brownlee. The flight simulator was set up at the library earlier this year by Nick Loomis, Library IT administrator. Dick Acker, Clare Municipal Airport manager and the owner of Acker Aviation, built and donated the booth or “cockpit” to house the computer, while the flight equipment and Microsoft Flight Simulator program were provided by the library. There’s an instrument panel, joystick and even headphones. The pilot’s seat was donated by C.W. Gordon Sales and Service of Coleman.
Participants get a log book to keep track of their time on the simulator. They log on with their library card, and use the simulator in 30-minute sessions, flying over different simulated areas all over the United States using different types of aircrafts.