Jackson Parrish WITN
Martin County airport hosts first Wright Flight field day in two years
April 14, 2022
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  • More than 250 middle schoolers are preparing to help pilot a plane in a few weeks.

    To prepare them Martin County airport hosted a Wright Flight field day.

    The students spent the day meeting pilots, flying drones, and even co-piloting.

    Students have been working diligently for weeks to prepare for this field day and their fly day on April 30th.

    For the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic put a hold on the program.

    Not many of us can say we spent our morning in a helicopter, but Wilson Roberson, a Martin County middle schooler can.

    “He took me off the course off the flight path from where he normally takes people over my farm and I was able to take aerial pictures of everything.

    In 2020, when Roberson was a fifth-grader, his Wright Flight program was canceled. Thursday, it came back in full swing.

    “It really hurt because we put in a lot of work and time for us to do it, we really enjoyed and we were really really looking forward to flying,” said Roberson.

    Gene Powell founded the Wright Flight program back in 2015 and wanted to use this as a way to educate the Martin County youth.

    “Education to show them that if you achieve yourself and work hard you can accomplish anything to want to,” said Powell.

    For airplane pilot Bill Plaster, he loves seeing young people get excited about aircraft.

    “To be able to have them come out here and to see them and to see their excitement in, you know they’ve been learning for however many weeks about airplanes,” said Plaster. “Now they get to actually come out and see an airplane.”

    Students from Elizabeth City State University came out to show the middle schoolers the equipment they use in their aviation program.

    “I think actually flying the drones, hands-on, playing with the machines, feeling the controllers, watching the drones fly, I think that was probably the coolest thing they’ve done,” said Benjamin Parham, an ECSU Aviation Student.

    Even though Roberson doesn’t want to become a pilot when he grows up, he would love to do it as a hobby.

    “Oh yeah I would love to have just a little helicopter to fly around all the time that would be amazing,” said Roberson.

    The students from Elizabeth City State University said that this is an opportunity they wished they had when they were Roberson’s age, but love that kids get this opportunity now.

    Powell said that out of all the counties in North Carolina only two have flight programs like this for students, Martin and Beaufort Counties.