Scouts explore PDX for Alaska Airlines Aviation Days



If you stopped by the Horizon Airlines hanger at PDX last weekend and saw the 150 uniformed Boy and Girl Scouts inside, you might have wondered what they were doing so far from the Great Outdoors.

The Scouts were exploring the world of flight by participating in the 5th annual Alaska Airlines Aviation Days, collaboration between the aviation industry, the Port of Portland and the Boy Scouts of America –Cascade Pacific Council. The event is a fun and educational opportunity for Boy and Girl Scouts to earn their Aviation Merit Badge and learn more about the people, facilities and machines that it takes to run a bustling airport.

The event is modeled on the original Alaska Aviation Day in Seattle, now in its seventh year. This year’s event marked the first time free tickets were available to the general public. Approximately 150 adults and child joined the Scouts for the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at PDX.

The intensive, two-day event began on Friday night at the Horizon Air hanger with classroom instruction in aerodynamics, trip planning and charting. It continued on Saturday with merit badge counseling, a career fair and tours of the airfield. The Scouts were also able to learn first-hand from pilots, air traffic controllers and flight attendants about what it takes to be an airport professional.

And, of course, the kids didn’t spend the entire time cooped up in a classroom. The Scouts got a chance to see some of the airport’s biggest and most interesting planes up close, including an Alaska Q400 and an Oregon National Guard F-15 Eagle. Students were also able to get hands-on experience performing pre-flight inspections, including checking the instruments, flight controls and fluid levels.

The event concluded with a glider completion, in which the Scouts were able to put their newly-learned aviation knowledge to use by testing the flight precision and landing capabilities of their homemade aircraft.

Port staff from wildlife management, police, fire, noise and public affairs were all on-hand to chat with the scouts and tell them about the variety of career possibilities available at the Port.

The event was a fun and rewarding way for the Port to connect with and educate young people from all over the metropolitan area. Chris Blair of the Noise Department appreciated the chance to “interact with kids and adults who are enthusiastic about aviation.”

His colleague Phil Stenstrom also enjoyed the chance to teach and connect: “As a former Scout and Eagle Scout, it was great to see new generations of kids inspired by the ideas and values of Scouting.”

Learn more about the Port’s community outreach activities and initiatives.