Here's an overview (but see site for all the info):
I've had a lot of inquiries about the Flight Instrument "game" that I often mention on the website and the newsletters. I use it for when I meet with the Girl Scouts, but it could be used for a variety of venues and ages. The game is not available for purchase. You need to make it yourself, and feel free to email me if you have any questions.
What's great about this game is that it uses aviation, air traffic control, teamwork, and communication skills. There is no way to win or lose, but as of yet, I have not had any complaints!
First, have some cockpit posters laminated. You can buy them (I use 172 posters -- pretty simple layout) from Sporty's and have them laminated at Staples, which costs very little. When you use the game consider the size of the group. If you're getting just a few girls at a time, one poster is enough. I don't suggest more than five girls per poster, because it just gets too crowded. I did up another poster with a pilot's multifunction display so they get an idea of how the same instruments have evolved into a one-screen display.
Then, create cards that show the basic instruments and laminate them for durability. For more options, make different sets of cards for each poster showing different indications. I have five posters and five sets of cards, 1 each: attitude indicator, airspeed indicator, altimeter, vertical speed indicator, compass, and turn and slip. I used MS Picture It to make cards that show climbs, turns, different speeds, etc. The cards can be downloaded from this page.
I usually start with an overview of my background as a pilot. This can fulfill badge requirements. Then, I tell the girls I am going to teach them everything they need to know to be a pilot. I also printed out a page with the phonetic alphabet. I show them where their call sign is and how to say it. The girls LOVE to figure out what their call sign is! I make sure there is a large cheat sheet that shows how to make a radio call.
This is *call sign*
*Tell Center the information they need*."
Example questions to get things started:
Who has ever seen the flight deck of an airplane before? Then, I go through the instruments. What is the biggest difference between flying an airplane and driving an car on the ground? Altimeter. How do you measure your speed in an airplane? We use nautical miles per hour, or knots. Airspeed indicator. Additionally, you need to know how fast you're climbing or descending. VSI How do you know what direction you're going in? Compass. I like to explain that just like if someone is skiing or snowboarding, or even riding a bike, they need to make sure the back of them is going in the same direction is the front; or else they'll be skidding and sliding around. The pedals help make turns. Turn and slip. What if it's cloudy out and we can't see the ground? How will we know how our airplane is traveling over the ground? Attitude indicator. Ask why it's colored blue and brown. This is a good time to ask the kids to interpret what their attitude indicator is telling them they're doing (climbing or descending, turning left or right or straight and level).
Now, to make it a game, I use a friend who is an Air Traffic Controller. She asks the girls where they want to fly. Since her job is to coordinate and direct the airplanes, she tells them that she needs to figure out who is going the fastest, since she is going to put them first in line. She has a list of the airplane tail numbers and she asks them to "say airspeed." Each table reads back their airspeed. (This takes about twenty minutes up to this point for five groups). Then she tells them she is going to help to vector them to the airway they need to follow to get to their destination. Then, since everyone is heading in the same direction, she says she needs to know what altitude they are at, so she can keep them separated in the sky, followed by asking them their vertical speed. At this point, depending on the age of the girls, you could then ask them what they need to do to make the airplane climb or descend (power/yoke), what to look for on their instruments, etc. This "game" is very popular because the girls walk away feeling like they've really learned something they can use. I was warned it would be too difficult. Well, the girls had no problems figuring out what to do and were so proud of themselves for doing so! See a video clip of the game in action on the site.