Words and Images Al Blanton
This past Saturday, six members of Troop 117 of the Mountain District of the Boy Scouts were presented their aviation merit badges at Sanders Aviation in Jasper. The recipients include Rhodes Franklin, Conner Hix, Wilson Hix, Conner Lyle, and Evan Williams.
According to Darren Hix, who serves as District Executive for the Mountain District, this was the second such trip for the Scouts, with one of the requirements of the merit badge being to fly in an airplane.
“The first trip was to Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham and the Bessemer Airport where they took a flight with a pilot over the city of Birmingham,” said Hix.
During these trips, scouts learn basic uses of aircraft, perform pre-flight inspections, learn how to read an aeronautical chart, and understand the purposes and functions of instruments in a typical single-engine plane.
The aviation merit badge is an elective but counts toward Eagle Scout.
“When we finish this, we will build a gas powered or electric model aircraft and fly it,” said Hix. “We’ll learn about different career opportunities in aviation.”
Hix also said that several Cub Scouts were on hand this Saturday to see what to look forward to when they become Boy Scouts.
Cub Scouts are for first through fifth grade students and Boy Scouts are from sixth grade until age 18.
In addition to learning the basics of aviation, participants enjoyed delicious ribs and chicken prepared by Cliff Rhodes, chief cook.
The Mountain District includes Walker, Winston, Lamar, Fayette, and Marion Counties.
Troop 117 is the longest running and oldest troop in the state of Alabama. WL